50 Stunning Examples of the Droste Effect

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September 29, 2009

The Droste effect is a Dutch term for a specific type of recursive picture.

An image exhibiting the Droste effect depicts a smaller version of the image within itself in a recursive manner.

In theory, the picture in picture effect continues deeper into the picture ad infinitum, but it really only goes as far as the image resolution will allow while still being visible, but it still has the feeling of being never ending.

The advent of the digital age has taken the old Droste effect to a whole new level.

In this compilation, you'll find over 50 stunning examples of the Droste effect.

The effect is named after a particular image that appeared in various forms on the tins and boxes of Droste cocoa powder, one of the main Dutch brands.

It displays a nurse carrying a serving tray with a cup of hot chocolate and a box of Droste cocoa depicting the same image (shown on the right).

The brand's effect, maintained for decades, became a household notion. Reportedly, poet and columnist Nico Scheepmaker introduced wider usage of the term in the late 1970's

In the 1950’s, one of the famous graphic artisits Maurits Cornelis Escher.C. Escher took the Droste effect to another level with his incredible drawings, and mapped images to a spiral.

In the series of images below you can see how Escher starts the image with a man looking at a photo and as you look further, this image will take you deeper into a never ending loop of the same image.


Another Classic on Droste effect was the CD cover for the Pink Floyd album “Ummaguna” released in 1969.


Today the creations of the Droste effect are mostly done using digital images and there are some helpful solutions to make it easy to create your own piece. Are are some amazging examples and videos:


Further Resources and Tutorials:


Compiled exclusively for WDD by Paulo Canabarro.


Which ones are your favorite examples? Please share others that we may have missed in the comments area.


WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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