Recording of holographic optical elements often entails the use of complex aspheric elements or computer-generated holograms for obtaining the necessary recording wavefronts. Since the production of these aspheric elements and computer holograms is difficult, we developed recursive design techniques for obtaining the recording wavefronts from relatively simple intermediate holograms. These techniques are based on changing the geometries and/or the wavelengths between recording and readout of these intermediate holograms. The design techniques are presented, along with a specific illustration of a holographic Fourier transform lens. Both the calculated and experimental results demonstrate the possibility of achieving much lower aberrations and better resolution than can be obtained with comparable spherical holographic lenses.