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3D web design

30 Awesome Web Designs That Create an Illusion of Depth

30 Awesome Web Designs That Create an Illusion of Depth Depth perception is our ability to see the world in three dimensions. It allows us to gauge the relative distances of objects we can see. In a plane/2D surface, depth can be simulated by the use of concepts related to depth of field, perspective, focal/vantage point, shading, lighting, and others.

Web design is traditionally a two-dimensional medium. However, experimenting with faux 3D effects can lead to interesting and memorable user experiences. In this showcase, I present to you web designs that successfully create an illusion of depth.

The Pixel

Perspective is a concept you can use for creating a sense of depth, as can be seen in The Pixel website. 0122 02 depth perception the pixel

Ecoda Zoo

In this web design, visitors are confronted with various interesting animation effects. By holding down the mouse button, users are able to navigate through the three-dimensional scene.

0122 03 depth perception ecoda zoo

Frito Lay

Frito Lay’s website uses perspective to give the viewer the impression that they are in a three-dimensional environment. Colorful character animations and shading further reinforce the 3D theme of the site. 0122 04 depth perception frito lays

Cup Cup

In this website for a cupcake shop, depth is achieved through the use of an awning (among other things), making it appear as though you’re looking at a storefront displaying cupcakes.

The cupcakes are placed in such a way as to give them the appearance of sitting on top of a shelf. 0122 05 depth perception cup cup

Through the use of perspective, depth is achieved on An almost photorealistic illustration of an octopus further exemplifies the three-dimensional characteristic being portrayed on the site.

0122 06 depth perception webdesignbe

Mike Dascola

The portfolio website of web designer Mike Drascola establishes an illusion of depth. A surreal quality characterizes the three-dimensional scene presented on the site. 0122 07 depth perception mike drascola

Gardener & Marks

Gardener & Marks creates a photorealistic setting that seems to embody the company’s style.

Depth is attained through various mechanisms, including the use of shadows on objects. 0122 08 depth perception gardner marks

Dez Vila Aplina

Dez Vila Aplina uses perspective in their illustrated roadmap. Shadows are another technique used to portray depth in this design.

0122 09 depth perception daz villa alpina

Versions App

Visual depth is achieved on this website through the use of a landscape, lighting, and shadows. The color palette also helps support a 3D look-and-feel. 0122 10 depth perception versions app

The Dascola Barbers

The Dascala Barbers website pays homage to Ann Arbor, while focusing on the people that make the shop a success.

A figure/ground perspective is achieved through the caricatures of the barbers. 0122 11 depth perception dascola barbers


On the Imaginamos site, depth is simulated in the illustrative header through the appropriate scaling of objects. 0122 12 depth perception imaginamos


Through the use of a large scrolling rainbow that protrudes from the background, Skittles gives the viewer a glimpse into the company and its history.

Viewers are engaged into a unique interactive experience when they visit the site. 0122 13 depth perception skittles


This fun website features a rotatable, 3D planet underscored by well-placed shadows and layering to create the illusion of depth. 0122 14 depth perception plantatae

Adobe Creative Suite 3

A surreal 3D illustration gives the Adobe Creative Suite 3 website an otherworldly character.

0122 15 depth perception adobe creative suite3

Iceberg Quest

Great composition produces an interesting landscape that’s used as the background and a central design element on the Iceberg Quest website. 0122 16 depth perception iceberg quest

Wing Cheng

Wing Cheng is a designer whose portfolio site establishes an illusion of depth. By unfolding the pages, you get a real-life look into the work of the designer.

Shadowing helps give the elements a 3D appearance. 0122 17 depth perception wing cheng

The Villager Restaurant and Catering

This website features a wonderful illustrative header that simulates depth. Depth is used as a functional tool to create visual hierarchy by attempting to focus your attention on the navigation menu bar after you view the beautiful illustration of the restaurant’s exterior.

0122 18 depth perception villager restaurant catering

Planeje Sua Carreira

Site visitors are greeted by a faux 3D environment when they go to the Planeje Sua Carreira website. 0122 19 depth perception suerra carrieria

Foundation Six Web Design Studio

The website designs by Foundation Six take center stage in this portfolio website. The illusion of depth is created by the use of shadows, layering, and object scaling.

0122 20 depth perception foundation six


The Inglorie website gives you a sense of depth through the use of perspective and shadowing. The 3D effect, coupled with animation and the use of distinction techniques, draws your attention to the objects at the center of the screen. 0122 21 depth perception inglorie


An aerial/bird’s-eye view of a house creates a sense of depth for the Aka-Acid site.

Shading also adds to the illusion of depth. 0122 22 depth perception acid

Green Woods Country Club

By using a natural landscape and perspective, the Green Woods Country Club website creates an almost realistic scene. 0122 23 depth perception green woods countryclub

Creative Switch

Creative Switch achieves depth through the use of scaling, which brings the mascot to the front as the city landscape fades into the background.

Darker colors also help the background fade into the distance. 0122 24 depth perception creative switch


Depth is achieved by using perspective in the photograph that is a central design piece in this website. 0122 25 depth perception adlucent

UIS- Ultimate Interactive Studio

The Interactive Studio UIS website creates depth by layering and by using shadows.

0122 26 depth perception uis

Help Scout

The Help Scout website uses depth of field, as can be seen by the birds being blurred to create an illusion of distance. 0122 27 depth perception helpscout

Hippo App

By using colorful, bright illustrations and perspective techniques, the Hippo App website achieves a nice simulation of depth. 0122 28 depth perception hippo app

Dino Yul

This unique website by Dino Yul creates an illusion of depth in the layout’s central element, the image slideshow.

Shadows and layering bring the image slideshow to a higher plane. 0122 29 depth perception dino yull


Through the use of shadows, depth is conveyed masterfully on Zennaware. Objects look like they’re resting on top of a table.

0122 30 depth perception zennaware

Creative Mints

Colorful and creative illustrations take center stage on the Creative Mints website. Once again, we can see how the use of shadows and proper scaling of objects can be used to establish a sense of depth. 0122 31 depth perception creative mints


Establishing a sense of depth in website designs can help produce striking and memorable experiences.

I hope these beautiful examples have inspired you to experiment with 3D elements in your own web design projects.

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stephanie hamilton small v200Stephanie Hamilton is a brand stylist and web designer whose passion is helping creative entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-ups develop memorable and meaningful brand and digital experiences. Visit By Stephanie to collaborate with her to tell your brand’s story.

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