In a 1995 interview with the game's designer Koichi Ishii, found within the Family Computer Magazine and Famitsu, he was asked how the game's team created the "three-dimensional" quality in the game's map, characters and monsters. He responded:

"For example, take a boss battle like the fight with Mispolm. That battle is presented to the player from a certain visual angle. If you completely ignore the background when you’re creating the sprites, then the sense of orientation of the scene gets completely messed up. That’s why we had the sprite artists and the background artists work in tandem for SD3, communicating closely with each other as they went.

We’re aiming for something better than Disney. Also, for shadows and the like, we’re using deep blues and purples instead of shades of black, to impart a sense of softness. If you use black for that there’s a tendency for things to look cold and sterile. As I mentioned, visually we wanted to go for a more storybook, fantasy vibe rather than something realistic. It’s the same direction we went with in Secret of Mana, but in that game we didn’t have enough memory to fully express what we wanted."
Contributed by ProtoSnake