Looks, count!



Take the infamous Ford Edsel. After spending $250 million in the late ‘50s developing the car of the future, the Edsel’s near universally-panned looks were a main driver in it’s failure.

Contrast that with the modern example of the Apple renaissance. With the return of Steve Jobs in 1997, aesthetic design became a pillar of Apple’s product development. When the first iPods were launched in 2001, it was the wow factor of the sleek, futuristic, yet simple look – the “i-aesthetic” – that sold many first-time buyers on emerging MP3 technology by making the iPod a status symbol.

Jobs understood that aesthetics aren’t an afterthought; they are a part of the user’s experience. That vision helped turn Apple into the giant it is today and launched a design revolution that has influenced everything from architecture to clothing.



Aesthetic Decisions

Pre-production prototyping is all about creating a prototype as close to final production as possible to ensure that every box – every part, every function, every manufacturing process, and every regulatory requirement – is checked before taking on the expense of full-scale production.

But beyond function, it’s crucial to also nail down the aesthetic side of design during the PPP stage as well. Having the right look, the right finishes, and the right processes nailed down before going to full-scale production can be the difference between success and failure at market, making aesthetic validation an invaluable part of the pre-production prototyping process.


The Emotional Implications of Color and Texture

Most designers know that colors and textures are a major factor in how users feel when using a product, and careful selection of colors can be effectively used to elicit desired emotions.

A red Ferrari evokes emotions of excitement or energy. The cockpits of Russian fighter jets are painted turquoise to evoke calmness in otherwise high-stress situations. White signifies cleanliness, making it popular in medical fields. There are countless examples of how color directs user emotion, making color selection a critical part of product design.

But color goes well beyond hue. Saturation, value, and surface texture all play equally important roles in how end users perceive colors and what emotions are evoked in response.

Our team at PEP are experts in color selection, and we can provide clients with guidance on choosing the right colors and surface textures to ensure the desired outcome in the all-important emotional connection between product and end-user.

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Thank you to the partners and companies who make all of this possible.

Professional Paint

Professional Paint as a Make-or-Break Consideration

Paint is a major consideration in product design, and getting it wrong could be enough to sink a product’s success in the marketplace. Whether it’s a complex piece of industrial equipment or something as simple as a soda can, paint is the most prominent visual aspect of most products.

That means not only does paint need to look right, it also needs to last. It needs to stand up to regular use, to abuse, to storage, transportation, and all the other rigors that most products face over the course of their lifespans.

A product that comes off the line with bad paint is destined for scrap or a discount store. A product that comes off the line with good paint that can’t withstand real-world use is effectively no better.

At PEP, we have the experience necessary to ensure our clients go to market with the right paint choices and the right application solutions to ensure the right colors off the line every time, minimized waste in production, and maximum durability for the end user.

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Printing and Etching

Printing and Etching for Clarity and Detail

Whether a part or product needs a serial number, a text application, a logo, or a decorative pattern, there are a number of options for adding markings during the finishing process.

Printing surface-level markings or patterns can be easily done on most materials using ink or paint. Most metal, plastic, and even glass parts can also be etched for a three-dimensional aesthetic and texture, either using chemical or laser techniques.

Etching on anodized aluminum parts provides a striking contrast between the colored anodized coating and the bare aluminum below, making it a particularly popular application.

The type of marking solution best suited to a project will depend both on the desired aesthetic outcome and as well as the durability needed. For instance, a serial number that needs to last decades or longer will probably require a different application technique than a simple decorative pattern.

The PEP team is experienced in all methods of marking application, and we’re here to act as trusted advisors to our clients regarding the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions.

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Vapor Polishing

Vapor Polishing to Ensure Plastic Transparency

Whether machined, injection molded, or vacuum cast, transparent plastic components often need additional finishing to meet required clarity standards.

Vapor polishing is a highly effective method of getting plastic resin components like polycarbonate, acrylic, and ABS to optimal transparency using chemical vapor to smooth the plastic’s surface.

Clarity in transparent plastic components is an important part of a product’s aesthetics, as clouding, scratching, or any other factor unintentionally limiting transparency can significantly detract from the visual appeal of parts like plastic windows or inserts.

However, not all transparent parts require a high level of clarity, and in some cases, semi-transparency is even the goal.

At PEP, we help our clients determine when vapor polishing is necessary to achieve the clarity levels they require and when the plastics utilized can provide adequate transparency right out of the mold.

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Quick Turn CNC Machining

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Pre-Production Prototypes

Don’t take the risk of sending your product to mass production without verifying every part, process, and use. Let PEP get to work developing a pre-production prototype for you today.

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Low-Volume Manufacturing

PEP’s low-volume manufacturing services offer the quality and professionalism we’ve built our name on to clients looking to get their products to market as quickly and affordably as possible.

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It can be easy to overlook the importance of finishing and aesthetics, especially in highly complex products like medical or industrial equipment.

But finishing is an important consideration in all product development, and getting it right during pre-production prototyping is a proven way to not only save money during production, but also to ensure the best possible user adoption of the end product.

Our expert team of engineers and machinists at PEP are experienced in all methods of finishing manufactured products, and our ability to provide our clients with valuable guidance on finishing considerations is exceeded only by our ability to execute them.

Contact us today for more information on how PEP Prototyping can help you produce pre-production prototypes that are as innovative in aesthetic design as they are in function.

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