Design Mockups

by Kaleb Dean

If it's not documented, it doesn't exist. 

This quote rings in my ears from an Art and Design Professor of mine—but he's right. Design mockups are important for all level designers. They can help designers pitch their work, document that work for their portfolios, and win new clients in the future. Here are some general tips about mockups.


Mockups in design are files or images chiefly for study, testing, or display. Whether business cards, t-shirt mockups, billboards, poster mockups, or any other media, mockups are used to preview design work in a realistic setting. Designers can use mockups to test what their work will look like, display designs for clients, or document design work in more than an Adobe artboard.

Mockups Design

There are many different mockups ranging in quality, realness, and usage. Some mockups are generated from fully digital files (like the image in IKEA catalogs), while others are edited from actual photographs. Mockups can come in video formats, online drag-and-drop tools, or premium paid and editable digital files. There are numerous places to get mockups that range in quality, production type, and proliferation. Some

Branding Mock Up

As designers, we know that each branding project is unique and custom for the client. Branding mockups need to represent the work as well as the work represents the client! That’s why we built all of our mockups from real photographs (which we’ve gotten pretty good at from all the weddings we photographed). The best mockups for branding also have many different scenarios, lighting types, and formats to match the designer’s work style. Not every designer wants dark and moody mockups, mockups that look fake and plastic, or mockups that everyone else uses.

Photoshop Mockups

Photoshop mockups are generally the highest quality, especially when they come from actual photos. Some mockups use Photoshop’s 3D features to wrap a design around some virtual object, but they don’t have natural lighting, bending, or realistic features. Other mockup resources like online builders may be easier to use, but their rendering engines pale in comparison to realistic photoshop mockups made from actual photos.

Mockup for Free

Free mockups get used the most, predictably, because they’re free. These free digital files are usually the lowest quality files and are seen most online. Free mockups are also good to gauge a premium mockup creator before purchasing paid mockups.

Be sure to grab our FREE A7 5×7" Card and Envelope Photographic Mockup!