What is flat perspective?
In its pure form flat perspective there are no line, no shadow or converging lines to represent depth. The process of flattening can create interesting distortions of the form. The lack of visual depth makes the whole surface area equally important. It has a different visual dynamic, placing more emphasis on abstract line, colour and shape. This approach is often used by illustrators involved in pattern-making, fabric design, textiles and other surface-based media. It is also common in film animations.
This type of perspective is common for example in:
Egyptian wall painting
Classical Greek vases
Art Nouveau, Art Deco and some paintings by Picasso which reduce 3D representations to 2D images.
Woodcuts and linocuts
Some linocuts like those by the Grosvenor school
Saul Bass‘s film titles
Will Scott‘s Still Life
Contemporary ‘flat illustration’
‘Flat illustration’ has become very fashionable with digital software like Illustrator. This takes flat perspective even further and uses solid blocks of colour/tone to represent objects, reducing details to very simple shapes. Flat illustration is often used in information graphics, cartoons and Flash animation.
Adam Simpson‘s Moby architecture illustrations
There are differences between illustrators and images eg two or more sides of objects may be shown with different tones and or slightly converging lines to show some form. Some illustrators do add shadows.
Further possibilities from photography
Some illustrators have also drawn on photography to produce flat images.
Flattened perspective in photography reduces the depth of a photograph through using a telephoto lens and using minimum aperture to reduce differences in focus between near and far objects.
Illustrators who use this type of approach:
Malcolm Coils for townscapes
Panoramas can also be seen as a form of flat perspective: round views of up to 360 degrees is reduced to one flat image.
Find examples of illustrators who have designed wallpapers, fabrics, wrapping paper or for other flat surfaces that you find interesting. How do their illustrations play with the idea of flatness?
research on packaging