Commercial Art

I have created a range of commissioned works for commercial projects, some of which are shown on this page. They illustrate just a bit of what is possible with origami used for commercial advertising. (See my page on monumental origami for further examples.) To make a figure look right for advertising, various origami genres can be called upon, ranging from purist “one-sheet, no cuts” folding, to “composite” (i.e., multi-sheet) origami. Having worked extensively in all of these genres, I can create whatever you need for your own project; please contact me with your ideas and requirements with your ideas and requirements, and, if available, the following information:

  • Storyboards, showing the origami you are after (even rough sketches are fine)
  • The type of usage (display, advertising); if advertising, where it will be used, which media, number of insertions
  • Timetable for the project: when you’d expect the project to start, how soon you’d need finished artwork

The images below show selected samples of my past commercial work. I can, of course, draw upon the hundreds of designs shown in my art galleries and routinely design new figures to meet specific client requirements.

A typical figure is the man in the image below, created for the BMC Software Annual Report, produced by Easterly & Co. This figure was one of a series of partial stages of folding, showing the evolution from the original uncut sheet of paper to the fully folded figure. I developed several human figures for the client, who selected this one for its slightly “heroic” character, as best conveying the desired characteristics of the represented company.

BMC Annual Report
From the BMC Software Annual Report, 2004.

I have contributed origami to several projects in which the artwork was animated. For a 2005 Toyota Avalon commercial, the commercial called for a sheet of newspaper to tumble along the ground and, as the Avalon drives by, it folds itself into a rabbit, which hops away. For this project, I worked with production company RSA, Ltd., folding one rabbit for the camera (which film was subsequently used as a reference for the animated folded sequence), and folded a second exhibition-quality figure used as reference for the final digital model. The commercial aired throughout the fall of 2005.

Toyota Avalon
Still image from Toyota Avalon commercial, 2005.

By far the most extensive TV commercial I have done was this effort for the 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV, created by MJZ Productions for BBDO New York. The commercial called for the Endeavor to drive through a world composed entirely of origami. For this project, I teamed up with fellow origami artist Linda Tomoko Mihara, which whom I have now collaborated on several projects. We spent a week of 14-hour days in Hollywood designing, folding, and managing the construction of tens of designs and hundreds of origami figures. The figure to the right links to a QuickTime animation of the entire commercial. Everything you see is either filmed folded paper or (for the moving objects) a computerized animation of a folded object! A description of the making of the commercial with many production photographs is here.

A TV commercial for the 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor, which drives through a world of origami.

In 2006, I completed a series of pieces for a McDonald’s TV commercial produced for Burrell Communications that aired first at a franchisee convention and then was selected for TV broadcast in various metropolitan markets in mid-2006. For this hip-hop themed commercial, I created a boombox and a range of human characters adorned with chains, Kangol hats, and other accessories—all folded from McDonald’s cheeseburger wrappers! (A little behind-the-scenes magic: they were actually folded from origami paper printed with the cheeseburger wrapper pattern.)

mcdonalds after party
Still image from McDonald’s “After Party” commercial, 2006