Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


Are all origami designs created equal?
Probably not, but there are at present no universally, or even widely, accepted criteria by which the quality of an origami design should be judged.

People who are not paperfolders tend to make judgements about origami designs on the basis of what they look like when they are finished and of the impressive cleverness of the fact that you can do this from one sheet of paper, or from a hundred sheets, or whatever. People who are not paperfolders are seldom impressed with simplicity, although, in origami design, simple original designs are now probably far harder to achieve than complex original designs.

Paperfolders tend to get drawn into this way of making judgements but I believe we really ought to know better. Paperfolding is after all a process, and usually a process that is specifically designed to be repeatable by other paperfolders. I would therefore argue that the quality of a paperfold resides as much, if not more, in the folding sequence as/than it does in the final appearance of the design. And if I am right then this means that you cannot really judge the quality of a design until you have folded it for yourself.

This is worth knowing even as a beginner because it is easy to be drawn into the idea that simple designs are somehow not as good as complex ones. Whereas, probably, the truth is that there are great simple designs and great complex designs as well. The fun thing, of course, is finding and folding them.