I’m sure many of you have seen the UK Whiskas cat food advertising campaign last year, which featured some elegant origami made from Whiskas wrappers. Sadly, I’ve not been able to indentify the origami artist.

I had a call from an agency wanting 50 cows for an event, citing the crittur below right as what they wanted. When I explained that it was probably made from 3 or 4 separate pieces, they were very surprised and asked “can you make it from a single sheet?” I said that it wouldn’t look nearly as clean or elegant, or be as cheap!

This set me thinking (gasp); how many times do we see genuine origami used in adverts (answer : rarely) and why should this be? It seems that what the agencies, and therefore the public, look for in origami is an elegant, simplified form, but one that closely resembles the real life original. It’s ironic that the public have no interest in notions of single-square purity or original techniques yet those are the very things most creators strive for!

2 Responses

  1. You bring up some interesting points, although people who look at the models I have folded do often ask if it is one sheet of paper and seemed to be more impressed because it is, I think the lay person’s response has less to do with purity and more to do with not being able to wrap their mind around the idea that something complex can be created from a single square.

    I agree, though, that the majority of non-folders don’t really care about purity. Occasionally I find someone who is hung up on the idea of no cuts, no glue, etc., but that usually just provides me a launching point for my rant against Origami Purity. My personal opinion is that a lot of folders get too wrapped up in the concept, valuing the theory of purity over the folded result.

    Your observation about real origami in advertising speaks to that. The “origami” in advertisements is rarely real because the effect is more important than the means of achieving it.

  2. Malachi’s final paragraph echoes my sentiments. If your only goal is to produce a model for display to the general public, there’s no need to adhere to the rules of purity.

    It’s especially true of origami used in adverts, I think, because of the extremely short exposure that it has. The model is seen only for a short time, and the impact of the model is the key. The image you used also shows certain words and pictures displayed in rather prominent positions on the model; I imagine that these elements have been precisely arranged on the unfolded sheet in order to achieve the desired effect.

    However, since the public get only a glimpse of the model, and most will have no desire to fold it themselves, there will be little/no thought given to the folding sequence, or any other aspect of the design.

    Most creators, though, create models for folders, and so they strive for the purity that you mention. I wonder who yearns for the purity more, though, the creator or the folder? I think it’s nice to know that, while there are many creators who design complex models from single sheets with no cuts, there are other creators who design models with the end result more in mind, and are willing to sacrifice purity for simplicity.

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