When you think of 3D design, stunning web designs might not jump to mind — but they should.
This design style is more than just three-dimensional (3D) movies and virtual reality. 3D design for websites engages visitors with a more immersive experience. Shadows, light, and movement make a website look less flat and emphasize important elements to make designs engaging and memorable.
What is 3D design?
In web design, 3D design means adding shadows and detail to elements like interactive scrolling, dynamic text, and graphics to add depth to a flat screen.
Many websites use 3D website designs to draw users’ attention to an image, text, or other detail. This can emphasize a CTA or make vital information more prominent.
Why should you use 3D design?
As a web designer, using various design elements lets you create the best user experience (UX) possible. Adding new dimensions creates visual diversity and guides people to the information they need. And while these elements look good, they also:
- Make the products on your website stand out. Flat designs and minimalist approaches are common in modern web design. 3D elements attract attention. They make websites more intriguing by emphasizing features like product images, navigation elements, or CTAs.
- Appeal to your visitor’s senses. A website with 3D designs offers an immersive experience that flat designs cannot. Online 3D design factors in human experiences and perspectives to better evoke emotion through UX design, whether through animations or more engaging site elements.
- Interact with site visitors. In an audio-visual digital world, 3D design helps visitors interact with a website in new ways. Interactive design includes lifelike moving elements and dynamic backgrounds to make the website experience stand out from everyday pages.
4 ways to use 3D elements on your website
We've curated some of the best 3D website examples to spark some ideas for your next website project.
1. Enhance your ecommerce store
This ecommerce template from Reality.Tools uses 3D icons to add depth to graphics, making them seem like they’re coming out of the screen. In the “How it works” section, these icons represent the three steps users must take to make a purchase.
In the “Browse” section, the menu shows a stylized 3D icon of every available product with shadows that make them appear to float. This design adds dimension to the menu to showcase the brand’s products, create a memorable browsing experience, and display some of the products on offer.
2. Incorporate dynamic images
Rogue&Rosy’s alcohol-infused fruit jams come to life with product animations. Behind the photographs are 3D splash effects and ingredients that seemingly come to life. This design matches the fresh, high-energy product and appeals to the viewer’s sense of taste by creating mouth-watering graphics they can practically taste.
The images also move when the user scrolls, adding more movement and dimension than a static design. This website’s larger-than-life animations and vibrant color scheme help visitors understand the product and what they’re getting if they purchase.
3. Invent an imaginative and immersive portfolio
Design Made Cool’s entire website is one landing page with lifelike scenes, animated elements, and an interface that makes it feel as if you’re strolling through an art exhibition rather than scrolling on a computer. The 3D humanoid figure, paired with a greeting, makes the visitor feel like they’re really meeting Chinmay.
As a portfolio site, it displays the designer’s key skills: 3D modeling, motion graphics, and Webflow development. The Work section offers a break from the heavy 3D elements to let the previous designs shine. At the end, lifelike balloons read, “Design adds value faster than it adds cost,” making a great case for why this designer is worth hiring.
4. Incorporate parallax scrolling
Parallax scrolling is a design technique that makes a background move slower than foreground images, creating the illusion of depth. Freelance web designer Jerome Bergamaschi’s parallax template doubles as a portfolio site.
On this landing page, cloud illustrations slowly float from side to side, even when the user doesn’t move their cursor. Scrolling down turns the page into a solid background with the same color as the ground at the bottom of the landscape, as if you are headed underground for more information.
These clever additions add to the immersion of the parallax effect and make the website feel cinematic. It encourages the visitor to scroll through the whole portfolio and learn more about Jerome’s work.
Enhance your website experience
Whether heavy motion graphics or a simple parallax effect, 3D design adds dynamism to any website. But it’s not the only technique you can incorporate into your collection of design tools.
Visual web development platforms like Webflow help improve your website design skills and go beyond the average design, with in-depth tutorials and guides on typography, color theory, animation software, and more.
Our dedicated educational resource, Webflow University, houses all this — and more — so you can start designing stellar websites today.