Prototyping canvas: Design tool for planning purposeful prototypes

Carlye Lauff, Jessica Menold, Kristin L. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


While prototypes are critical to the creation of successful products and innovative solutions, building a prototype is characterized by large sunk costs and a plethora of unknowns. The versatility and effectiveness of prototypes paired with the ambiguous nature of developing a prototype can lead to wasted resources. Recent studies support this claim, demonstrating that under certain circumstances, designers often prototype without a clear purpose, building prototypes as a function of the design process rather than as a function of the design. These findings motivated the creation of the Prototyping Canvas, a tool to aid designers in planning for purposeful prototypes by identifying critical assumptions and questions to guide development. Business and engineering design literature influenced the development of the canvas, which was first tested with a client project in the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC). The feedback and insights from the design team guided revisions to the canvas. The updated canvas was then validated with 55 professionals during a design project sprint. The purpose of this paper is to present the Prototyping Canvas as a valid and effective design tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1572
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2019 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: Aug 5 2019Aug 8 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The team would like to acknowledge the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC). The IDC design engineers were critical to the testing and iterations on the Prototyping Canvas. Additionally, many conversations with other IDC members influenced the direction and evolution of this tool.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Design Society. All rights reserved.


  • Design methods
  • Design practice
  • New product development
  • Prototype


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