Monday, September 8, 2008

A brand that gave the Droste Effect its name

The Wild Beasts' music video making waves online is based on the Droste Effect. For those who are too lazy to watch the video, Wikipedia defines the Droste Effect as: A specific kind of recursive picture. An image exhibiting the Droste effect depicts a smaller version of itself in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear. This smaller version then depicts an even smaller version of itself in the same place, and so on.

Apparently the effect is named after a particular image, that appeared, with variations, 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 the same brand. The recursive effect first appeared in 1904, and was maintained for decades, becoming a household notion. Reportedly, poet and columnist Nico Scheepmaker introduced wider usage of the term in the late 1970s.

I googled Droste and I discovered that it's a German surname that means Head Servant. And that's precisely what the packaging depicts.

Information and image courtesy: Wikipedia.