An introduction is given to the use of prototype-based models in supervised machine learning. The main concept of the framework is to represent previously observed data in terms of so-called prototypes, which reflect typical properties of the data. Together with a suitable, discriminative distance or dissimilarity measure, prototypes can be used for the classification of complex, possibly high-dimensional data. We illustrate the framework in terms of the popular Learning Vector Quantization (LVQ). Most frequently, standard Euclidean distance is employed as a distance measure. We discuss how LVQ can be equipped with more general dissimilarites. Moreover, we introduce relevance learning as a tool for the data-driven optimization of parameterized distances.