5 Best Web3 Design Examples for Crypto Startups [2021]

With community at the core of web3, well-designed experiences are at the forefront. This is a breakdown of 5 of my favorite web3 design examples.

We are designing the future

A new chapter in history is being written, and its focus is how blockchain is fundamentally changing the way we use and perceive the internet. The shift from Web2 to Web3 is beginning now; we see it, most notably, in the way artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs are sharing their work and building community.

Whether you’re creating a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), minting or collecting NFTs, building on the decentralized web, or developing blockchain dApps, there’s no shortage of projects to work on.

While many of these advances are exciting, we still have much work to do—especially in regards to user experience design.

Using design to send trust signals

It’s no secret that well-designed experiences are one of the most genuine forms of building trust with your audience. I could speak for days on what good design is at its core, but this quote from Paul Rand sums it up quite nicely.

To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit; it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse.
Paul Rand

While this ideology is applicable to so many facets of design—both digitally and in our everyday lives—we believe that design’s importance in crypto, specifically, is paramount.

Building in crypto is believing in the future—one where power is placed in the hands of the people and freedom is given back to creators.

The movement is picking up momentum with each passing day; however, crypto’s ambitious goals are consistently met with doubt and hesitation.

Doubt is especially present when finances, drastic change, and risk collide. Blockchain companies today are asking people to not only trust them with their money but challenging them to change their perception of the internet and the global financial system as they know it. Pair a subversive ideology with poor design, and you’ll be met with pushback.

Crypto is the perfect storm and presents an incredible design challenge.

So, how do we keep the movement going when there is seemingly so much to tackle?

We start with what we can control—design.

In this article, I’ve compiled my favorite crypto websites and apps that are disrupting their traditional industry counterparts with innovative blockchain technology, marketing, and design.

You’ll find numerous examples, industry trends, and a host of design tips along the way. I hope you take inspiration from this article and take it with you to the moon.
(Sorry, had to. Let’s begin.)


Design examples:
Layer 1 Smart Contracts - Cosmos
NFT Marketplaces - Foundation
Music - Audius
Digital Wallets - Rainbow.me
Blockchain Gaming - God’s Unchained


Layer 1 Smart Contracts

Cosmos

I just knew I had to kick this article off with Cosmos.

Not only are they a perfect example of the trends we’re seeing in the Web3 space, such as colorful gradients, 3D elements, and futuristic space themes, but they do it all so unbelievably well.

While being incredibly expressive, they’ve done an excellent job at building it all on a solid foundation of beautifully done typography that scales, clear CTAs, page flow that promotes scannability, and attention to accessibility.

On a visual level, their use of planets to portray the decentralized apps and services is outstanding. And, they’re interactive too! It’s the subtle touches like this that really drive the design home and give them bragging rights at the first spot on my countdown.

Besides their knowledge of beautiful and functional web design - which I love - Cosmos leans heavily into their name, symbol ($ATOM), and their vision of an internet of blockchains which to an active imagination looks a lot like an interconnected universe.

NFT Marketplace

Foundation

I think I’d be silly not to mention Foundation. They’re one of the leading NFT marketplaces for many reasons, but most notably (and for the sake of relevancy) their god-tier design skills.

Where to begin?

Foundation’s minimalistic approach truly allows the art to be center-stage. You’re not hit with overloads of information or “This is what an NFT is and this is why it matters!”

Foundation knows their audience; they know that the people coming to the site understand the value of the creator economy and subsequently give all of the attention to the creators and their artwork.

We see this done by the grid of cards that take up the majority of the site. While simple, they add in the most beautiful details—from the subtle drop shadows and movement on hover, to their fun use of typography.

The creation/collection flow is also incredibly easy to navigate. As a creator on Foundation, I always look forward to minting/listing a new piece because of the fun confetti animation that occurs.

Last, but certainly not least, their new Explore page is absolutely incredible. The creation of Worlds allows creators and collectors to easily browse art types by category. I think this is such a fun, creative way to introduce ways to discover new artwork.

Well-done, Foundation. I’m a fan.

Decentralized Music Streaming Application

Audius

Audius is paving the way for what the future of music can look like through their token $AUDIO—and I’m here for it.

Alongside having the inspiring mission of giving autonomy back to musicians, Audius has a great deal of personality across its site and platform.

They’ve embraced certain Web3 trends, such as gradients and heavily blurred drop shadows, but I find that their design is rather unique to their mission.

Naturally, their marketing site is riddled with nods to music. One I found particularly great was the way they displayed common questions along what seems to be accents of a guitar.

Their use of animation is also beautifully done and does an excellent job at lending to who they are and what they do.

As far as listening to music on Audius, the experience is similar to Soundcloud and easy to explore. I think they’ve done a great job at sticking to what works while still being incredibly expressive.

I believe it’s design choices like these that make building community much easier. Of course, design is one small piece of the puzzle. But when something works well, the foundation for building community is much stronger.

Audius’ crypto strategist, Cooper Turley, tweeted the following about community. And to add to his point: since your community is entirely one of a kind, show that you value them by providing well-designed experiences.

Between Audius’s exceptional design and strong community, I look forward to seeing where this token takes the music industry.

Wallets

Rainbow

Rainbow’s playful design, use of memes, and strong community is simply unmatched.

I could write a whole article on their brand (and tweets) alone, but their design speaks for itself.

Whereas many other wallets stick to what’s considered safe in finance, Rainbow challenges the norm by pushing fun, eccentric designs.

The Rainbow website is rather straightforward as its goal is to send people to the app download page. But in the small details, we see the creativity that we—as an industry—seem to have forgotten in the pursuit of the minimalist trend.

The wallet is also beautifully designed with the same artistic expression. Their knowledge of beautiful and functional app design is abundantly clear; from the clear flows to the small moments of delight (loving the use of emojis), they’re one of my favorite apps to use.

Rainbow is a breath of fresh air and a leader in bringing some spice.

Gaming

Gods Unchained

I absolutely adore when game design meets web design, and Gods Unchained has created an experience that any fan of video games can appreciate.

There are so many well-designed fantasy-themed elements; you can tell that care was put into the smallest of details, too, with even the dividers being styled to match.

One of my personal favorite sections is this card section. They could have done a standard card UI design with some fantasy icons, but nay. The cards, instead, were given full card deck treatment with beautifully done textures and accents.

The only thing unchained is their creativity. (...-5 charisma)

Looking to the future

There we have it—5 examples of design done well in the crypto space.

Whether you follow the trends or challenge them, I hope you take inspiration from this article. And if you found it insightful, share it in your favorite Discord server or Twitter thread.

P.S. find me hanging out on Twitter on the regular. Let’s be friends and chat design and web3 if ya wanna.