Prep Time:
Time to run:
1-3 hours

Appearance modeling template

A refined model of a new idea that emphasizes the visual styling

Courtesy of our friends at

Use this template to consider the visual and emotional attributes of your proposed solution. Build a prototype that represents the look and feel of your designed solution.

Functionality is important, but the way something looks and feels is essential to the success or failure of your design. In fact, many studies have shown that people report higher degrees of satisfaction for aesthetically appealing products and services.

A great way to consider the visual and emotional attributes of your proposed solution is to build a model that appears to be the real thing.

The appearance modeling template helps you:

  • Consider the visual aspects of a new product or feature
  • Test variations of designs and prototypes
  • Gather real-time feedback on designs before finalizing product decisions

How to use the appearance modeling template

To use Mural’s appearance modeling template, follow the steps outlined below with your team.

1. Define the idea or concept you are developing

The first stage in appearance modeling is to clearly define the idea that you’re looking to build. This should be no longer than a phrase or single sentence, with any further background assigned to pre-work for your team.

2. Brainstorm design considerations across 4 categories

The second step is to think through the visual aspects of potential prototypes across 4 different categories:

  • Visual qualities: What range of visual qualities should you consider?
  • Emotional qualities: What feelings do you want your design to evoke?
  • Color palette: What range of colors should you consider?
  • Sample materials: What variety of materials (physical or digital) could you use?

3. Sketch your ideas

For the third step, have your team sketch out 4 different ideas that could serve as prototypes for your design. Use any of Mural’s flexible features, like images, drawing tools, or GIFs to help illustrate your ideas as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

4. Finalize your design for feedback

Once you have created a few sketches, think through the best elements of each option, and align on a best version to use for initial rounds of feedback. Pro-tip: You can use Mural’s anonymous voting feature to quickly poll and get aligned on the best option.

Tips for running an appearance modeling template workshop

To get the most out of Mural’s appearance modeling template, you should:

  • Ensure that every stakeholder has the right context and a clear understanding of the central idea before engaging in brainstorming and ideation
  • Use tools like private mode to avoid groupthink while brainstorming and considering different aspects of your designs or prototypes
  • Use anonymous voting to help determine the best options and provide a clear path forward with broad team alignment

How to create a Appearance modeling template

Mural’s intuitive features and tools make it easy to collaboratively design and iterate

With Mural’s visual tools, you can quickly brainstorm, get aligned, test, and gather feedback, all in a single place, speeding up the process of innovation.
Sticky notes & text

Sticky notes & text

Add ideas, action items, and more as a sticky note or text box — then change the colors and cluster to identify patterns and new solutions.

Anonymous voting

Anonymous voting

Gain consensus and reach alignment quickly, either in real time or asynchronously.

Real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration

Add more productivity and engagement to meetings and calls with features to guide collaboration.

Asynchronous collaboration

Asynchronous collaboration

Innovate and collaborate effectively together without booking time on calendars.

Presentation mode

Presentation mode

Build presentations collaboratively, then deliver engaging sessions that go beyond one-way talk tracks.



Visualize ideas, prototype, and quickly annotate for a better-than-a-whiteboard experience.

Appearance modeling template frequently asked questions

What is appearance modeling?

When should I use appearance modeling in the design process?

LUMA Institute

Template by LUMA Institute


LUMA offers acclaimed in-person training, custom innovation programs, and a unique digital platform (LUMA Workplace), used by innovators in over 70 countries. Leading organizations around the globe rely on the LUMA System of Innovation — a practical, flexible, and scalable approach to Human-Centered Design.

Mural and LUMA System Logo Lockup

Mural is the only platform that offers both a shared workspace and training on the LUMA System™, a practical way to collaborate that anyone can learn and apply.