The Canonical Perspective

When I asked the rest of our team in the Studio to draw a coffee cup, with no other explanation, what they all drew was strikingly similar.

Coffee in Canonical Perspective

This isn’t unique. If you go just about anywhere in the world, you’ll get similar results. This is because humans tend to view things in the canonical perspective.

…The canonical perspective still won out, even though when we see cats or very small dogs we are mainly looking at them from high above, not just slightly above. In fact the research shows that when we imagine an object we imagine it from this canonical perspective.

If you look at the Dock on your Mac or the icons on your phone, you’ll notice that designers tend to use this perspective too. It’s worth taking into account when you’re creating icons or geometric graphics, as people will tend to recognize the object quicker if it’s drawn this way, too.

Raymond Brigleb

Creative Director, dreamer, partner, father, musician, photographer. Has been known to ride the rails. Pulls one heck of a shot.