Seeing isometric designs on websites, logos, or infographics is ubiquitous in this day and age. The isometric graphics trend goes back as early as the 1980s in video games. To date, the trend is still going strong, with businesses using isometric design for branding and marketing assets.
But what is isometric design? And what makes it popular among brands and marketing materials? Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about isometric graphics.
What is Isometric Design?
Isometric design is another facet of graphic design. It pertains to a unique way of presenting visuals by drawing three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional planes. Simply put, isometric designs show an object as though it’s viewed from one corner and a bird’s eye angle.
Isometric graphics are growing in popularity these days due to custom illustrations. As a result, several entrepreneurs and marketers use custom illustrations and graphic design to attract more prospects. According to surveys, custom designs contribute to higher engagement and more conversions.
But how can you differentiate isometric designs from the rest?
Isometric designs are unique and simple. This type of design works for branding and marketing due to beautiful shapes and an added depth that makes the imagery more realistic.
Professional graphic designers integrate shadows on isometric objects. These objects are created in a two-dimensional universe, but they appear three-dimensional. And this is due to the lines and angles used.
Here is an example of an isometric illustration:
As you can see, this illustration shows the object seems like it’s viewed from up above. Also, the object is facing one corner, also as if people view it from that corner. The axes are also set out from this specific corner angle.
Here’s a more technical definition of isometric design. The objects are created by starting a vertical line along with two defined points. These points should be at a 30-degree angle.
Difference Between Flat and Isometric Graphics
Before isometric design came flat designs, and these are simpler approaches to convey information via visuals. However, flat designs don’t have depth, unlike isometric designs.
There should be no unnecessary details in flat designs. Flat graphics are typically clean, two-dimensional objects with crisp lines, shapes, and edges. It also features an open space without any distracting elements in its surroundings.
Here’s an example of a flat design:
On the other hand, isometric means equal measure. This means, all the object’s axes should come together at a point with a 120-degree angle. And this also means that isometric objects have equal and accurate measurements.
The rule of thumb in isometric objects is that all horizontal lines remain at a 30-degree angle. Plus, all vertical lines should maintain their position as well.
Here’s an example of a flat cube design versus an isometric cube design:
Overall, the isometric design creates visual interest due to its realism and depth. And this is the reason why more people prefer this type of design.
3 Elements of Isometric Design
The isometric design has three primary elements or rules. Here are what makes up an isometric style:
Parallel lines don’t converge
Humans have a natural way of looking at objects, and this is called a perspective in graphic design. The parallel lines in a perspective design meet at a vanishing point. In isometric objects, however, the parallel lines never converge. That’s because all the axes’ angles are equal.
To understand more about non-converging lines, here are two objects in perspective and isometric designs:
One of the reasons why people choose isometric illustrations over flat ones is due to their whimsical nature. And to achieve a quirky yet realistic outcome, the object’s x, y, and z axes should be at a 12-degree angle. Also, the horizontal lines should be at a 30-degree angle from their converging point.
Because isometric design displays several angles, it can be confusing if you put in many various elements. That being said, it’s best to keep isometric graphics simple, getting rid of unnecessary clutter. You want to keep the elements as minimal as possible while still portraying the imagery’s message. Plus, you want to keep the colors vibrant yet subdued.
How to Use Isometric Designs
Although using isometric styles in your branding and marketing assets sounds good, do a bit of research before jumping on the bandwagon. Here are some of the ways you can apply isometric visuals:
The great thing about isometric design is it’s memorable. Flat logo designs can be eye-catching. However, you can be limited when you’re dealing with flat designs. On the flip side, use an isometric logo if you want your logo to pop.
Create a clever and stylish logo using isometric style. You can play with your logo designs as much as you can. Plus, this type of style will also bring your logo to life. Here’s an example of an isometric logo design versus a flat logo design.
Isometric illustrations also started in iconography. Icon illustrations are extremely useful in your company websites and business apps. Icons make it easier for users to navigate throughout your site and app. The disadvantage of flat icons is that they’re not distinct from the other design elements. These icons tend to blend in with the background.
Using isometric icon illustrations, however, means users can quickly see where they need to click. In addition, since the icons protrude from the background, they’re more apparent.
3. Landing Pages
Another popular way brands use isometric illustrations is also landing pages. Marketers create landing pages to increase their conversions. Compared to ordinary web pages, landing pages have one purpose — convert leads. Therefore, the overall structure and design must be free from distractions, with only the essential components.
Visuals are one of the most crucial elements of a landing page. For users to read the copy and click on the call to action, you need to hook them through compelling imagery. And this is where isometric illustrations come into play.
4. Hero Images
Hero images are banner images that are placed at the top of your website. These are typically larger than the usual website design elements. These images are also displayed front and center, in full width.
Users see hero images first the moment they land on the website. And this is why hero images should capture attention right off the bat. Isometric hero images are more playful than using stock photos. With the right colors and imagery, your website can be geared for conversion.
You can also apply isometric design on maps. Isometric map designs are more realistic than flat ones. They give users better visualization due to their angled axis. Because they appear 3D, isometric maps are better if you want to emphasize a building, street, or people. Overall, using isometric maps can convey directions better.
Infographics should be part and parcel of your content marketing strategy. Plus, infographics are excellent for summarizing a complex topic into easily digestible chunks of information. The only drawback when using infographics is designers might tend to cram everything in there.
The overall design can look cluttered and confusing for the readers. When you use isometric illustrations and icons for your infographics, it can make every element distinguished. They add perception and depth to the elements, which make them easier to follow.
Simple lettering and typography also work with isometric design. They offer more visual interest and a playful style. The simplicity of the lettering can be livelier and more recognizable when presented in 3D. Also, isometric typography is more interesting to view from all angles. Check out these two examples of flat and isometric typography.
Benefits of Isometric Graphics
If you’re still not utilizing isometric designs for your business design needs, then it’s high time you should. Here’s why:
Emphasizes every detail
Use isometric illustrations if you want to emphasize all details of your design. For example, if you want users to process the data from the top, sides, or front, then the isometric style helps you achieve that.
Offers a simple yet creative approach
If you want to keep your icons, illustrations, or designs minimalist and creative, isometric design is the key! This design technique should always be kept simple to avoid a confusing outcome. However, simplicity doesn’t always relate to bland designs. Use isometric design to keep designs recognizable yet straightforward as it creates more visual appeal.
Conveys message clearly
Another benefit of using isometric imagery is it conveys your message clearly. For instance, if you’re distributing infographics for marketing, your materials can offer more understandable information.
Presents products in all angles
If you’re showcasing your products front and center, better use isometric designs to present them in the best light. Due to angled features, users can see some internal or hidden parts of your product. This way, they won’t see a flat image that shows only the top or front part of your product. This can be excellent on your website’s product pages or during business presentations.
Without a doubt, isometric graphics are a trend this 2021. And it will be for the coming years as this style presents your visuals more distinctly. In addition, isometric designs are more refreshing and modern, allowing newly established brands to make their branding assets stand out. So if you’re a contemporary brand with a younger audience demographic, isometric visuals keep your brand updated.
Is Isometric Design Suitable for Your Brand?
Every individual or brand has needs. If you feel that the benefits suit you, then it’s best to use isometric styles for presenting your offers better. However, one thing to remember is that using isometric styles on your visual materials might not work every time, especially if you don’t have a concrete design plan.
Isometric designs don’t work well on all projects. Try not to overwhelm users with too many complex isometric icons or illustrations. Also, it’s best to stick to a few color palettes, so your design doesn’t come out as jarringly over-the-top.
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