How to Make 3D Icons in 2023?

3d animal on womp

3D icons can be exactly what you need to make your app, website, and design portfolio grab your viewer’s attention.

When they’re done right, 3D icons can create attention-grabbing designs. Digital and web designers often use 3D design to help customers better visualize products and highlight important details on websites and social media.

Some designers will tell you that the flat, minimalist look is trending and that you should avoid 3D. Quite a few big companies that used 3D logos and designs in the past have switched back to a flat design. But, we also see 3D design being used all over the web.

It’s safe to say that you can create incredible designs using both.

3D website design started about a decade ago with the launch of WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering 3D graphics within a compatible browser that didn’t require plugins. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of excitement for the possibilities of 3D amongst web designers. 

That initial hype has certainly died down, but the development of online 3D has continued, and there are some impressive uses out there.

If you want to start using 3D design, your best bet is to ensure it’s useful. You won’t see 3D text on many websites because 3D typography is harder to read than 2D. On the other hand, when you’re highlighting the new product feature, 3D can help people visualize it. It’s also likely that virtual reality will continue to grow in popularity. If that trend continues, people will want to feel like they step into a virtual world when they visit your website and see your posts on social media. Using 3D design will help you accomplish that.

3D icons will help you stand out

Even though flat, minimalist designs have been trending, 3D icons still have a place at the design table. In fact, because the flat minimalist design has become the standard, adding 3D icons can help you stand out from the crowd.

2D icons are limited to colors. With 3D, you can play with textures, design, patterns, and materials.

Making everything 3D can look a bit overwhelming, but using 3D icons can add the right amount of depth and realism you need to make something more eye-catching.

Where are 3D icons used?

Icons are found everywhere online: on landing pages, videos, sales presentations, apps, computer home screens. Many of the icons you see will have some 3D design aspects. This can help the icons stand out when they’re on a flat screen.

Because we see the world around us in 3D, designers can use 3D design to make their icons and buttons stand out.

You won’t find 3D design being used everywhere. Some companies had a 3D logo and recently made the transition back to a flat, 2D design. Take a look at Volkswagen’s logo.

Volkswagen had a round 3D logo for nearly 20 years, and recently changed it back to a flat design.

That certainly doesn’t mean 3D logos are going away. Plenty of car companies use 3D logos today.

Next, go to your app store, or your home screen. The majority of app icons are 3D designs. Especially for mobile games, and design apps. You’ll also see some more minimalist 2D designs. The 3D designs are used so that when you’re looking at your phone, the app icon jumps off your screen a bit.

Here are a few examples of computer apps that use 3D icons:

You’re also likely to see 3D icons used on websites. The entire website probably won’t use 3D, but icons and some 3D features will make a website more fun.

3D features can be used to draw attention to certain areas of a website. If everything is flat, or everything is 3D, nothing will stand out. A website design with 3D text, 3D buttons, and 3D icons would be overkill.

Stripe uses some 3D objects and icons on their website to highlight important features. 

The 3D sphere spins around and catches your attention as you read about Stripe’s worldwide presence. It makes what could be a boring section of text feel more interactive.

3D icons and shapes can be created using a free 3D design software. There are a few different ways to design 3D icons, but the software will add the depth you need for a 3D look. 

Do you want to make the switch from 2D to 3D? You can use Womp to design and use 3D icons for various projects, websites, social media, and much more.