Back in June, there was a follow up on if we should allow 3D questions to which no one seemed to disagree (but I don't think it's too late if you want to chime in and disagree or nuance some things).

I think there was an interesting case yesterday in this question which asks which of the two designs for a device better convey a specific feeling.

Would the question have been accepted if it had presented the object in 2D form instead of 3D (sketch, illustration of some other flatter style...)?

If we allow 2D critiques so long as they follow more objective guidelines, should we allow 3D critiques if they follow the same guidelines?

And if we do, does it matter what type of 3D object it is so long as the focus is on what is conveyed visually and not focused on usability/manufacturing? Closer to what seems more typical in the field, should we allow critiques on packaging designs?

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    Personally, I'm open to product design feedback type of questions, though I realize that's not really fitting the definition of the site. There's not currently a StackExchange for that sort of thing that I'm aware of Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 1:11
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    How do you tell the difference between 2D and 3D? There are countless ways to give something a "3d feel" in illustrator (shadows, reflections, gradients, see here) and countless ways to use 3d and create a "flat" or 2d looking design (see here). And as far as I know, the rise of 3d in webdesign is gonna make it very hard to separate categories... Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 22:09

3 Answers 3


I think the question you referred to is probably off-topic. However I didn't downvote or comment to point this out, because I was unsure exactly how much "off-topic" it was. Clearly the images are a 3D render, however the question itself is definitely about product design.

As far as your question on packaging design is concerned, is packaging really 3D? Packaging is obviously 3D in nature, but it's ultimately just folded up 2D card with graphics/text printed on it - and still part of print design (and graphic design) in my opinion - and something a graphic designer is likely to be involved in, to some degree at least.

However, solid (3D) plastic objects are a different industry entirely - although there's still a visual element. I think it would be a stretch to say it's "graphic" - except perhaps for the logos which are printed on it.

Then again, the design of a product can still be very visual in nature (not merely functional), and aesthetics certainly come into play, whether it's a flat graphic, or something that is more sculptural/3D in nature. I have no problem with discussing the visual appearance/aestheics of such a design.

Suffice to say, I don't think user287001's answer really deserves 4 downvotes, and so I've upvoted that answer.


I think there is a concept problem in your question, one thing is to ask for a critic of a 3D illustration and another very different is asking what we think about a product presented in a 3D render. The question you are referring to is not about 3D but about the product: 100% off topic. Even the fact that they are 3d illustrations is a guess, nowhere in the question does it specify. They can be photographs of real models. To me they are both situations off topic.

The only acceptable exception from my point of view is whether the question refers to the composition of the illustration or the use of its composition elements such as colors, shadows, lights, textures, typography, shapes, space ... unfortunately was not the case.

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    The question pretty clearly refers to choice of color/shape. So would you consider that asking what we think about a packaging (whether a photograph or a 3D render) to be 100% off topic?
    – curious Mod
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 16:34
  • Which of these two designs better conveys security and protection? Which one would you rather own? Are questions about color or shape? I think my problem with English Language is getting worse ;-D
    – user120647
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 16:37
  • "1. Round" "2. Wave" with obvious visual differences between the two options.
    – curious Mod
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 16:40
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    1. Round" "2. Wave" with obvious visual differences between the two "industrial products design". Don't forget we are in GRAPHIC DESIGN StackExchange.
    – user120647
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 16:49
  • I will ask again: "So would you consider that asking what we think about a packaging (whether a photograph or a 3D render) to be 100% off topic?"
    – curious Mod
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:10
  • I think you should add this second question inside the original question or make another. I can answer, but I have not enough space in a comment, this will become very extensive 😁
    – user120647
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:16
  • It's already in the original question "Closer to what seems more typical in the field, should we allow critiques on packaging designs?"
    – curious Mod
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:46
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    @Emilie product design is not graphic design; that question was clearly asking for critique of the product itself, not the quality of a 3D render. It was not about building a 3D mockup, it was about an actual object. I agree it should be off-topic. If we're talking package design that is anything else than printed-cut-folded materials then it should also be off-topic here.
    – Luciano
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 9:50

I don't think the question fits here regardless of whether the renders were 2d or 3d. The question is looking for advice on an industrial design problem, not a graphic design problem. Regardless of whether there is discussion around colour/shape, it's still not a graphic design problem...

The question is akin to asking "what's the best colour to paint this chair?"

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