Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art, Second Edition / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $54.47
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 17%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $54.47   
  • New (6) from $54.47   
  • Used (3) from $94.15   


The magnum opus of one of the world’s leading origami artists, the second edition of Origami Design Secrets reveals the underlying concepts of origami and how to create original origami designs. Containing step-by-step instructions for 26 models, this book is not just an origami cookbook or list of instructions—it introduces the fundamental building blocks of origami, building up to advanced methods such as the combination of uniaxial bases, the circle/river method, and tree theory. With corrections and improved illustrations, this new expanded edition also covers uniaxial box pleating, introduces the new design technique of hex pleating, and describes methods of generalizing polygon packing to arbitrary angles.

With coverage spanning the foundations of origami construction and advanced methods using both paper and pencil and custom-built free software, Origami Design Secrets helps readers cultivate the intuition and skills necessary to develop their own designs. It takes them beyond merely following a recipe to crafting a work of art.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
I am in complete agreement with the questions and thoughts expressed in his book. … This book is perfect for math geeks who aim to apply their math in a very creative way.
—OrigamiBlog.com, January 2012

Robert Lang made some substantial changes — much to the joy of many origami enthusiasts. The first edition impressed with 594 pages full of high-quality content going into techniques, mathematics, and folding instructions. The second edition tops that by an extra 176 pages, an extra 30% of content! … Altogether, this wealth of new content definitely makes it worth buying the second edition — even if you already have the first edition. As to if you don’t have either edition: I’d recommend going for the second one.
—Sara Adams, HappyFolding.com, December 2011

The good news is that a second edition of Robert Lang’s Origami Design Secrets is available. The bad news is you’re going to want to buy it, even if you have the first edition. … It’s a tribute to both the author and the publisher (CRC Press) that such major updates have been allowed. This book is without doubt the best guide to creating origami that has ever been published and I suspect it will retain the crown forever. … Quite simply, all creative folders should own this book if they have any interest in developing their skills. Even if they have no such interest, they should buy it — it’s that good.
—Nick Robinson, origami artist and author, on his blog, September 2011

Praise for the First Edition:
The first part of his plan was to write the book he’d been contemplating while still at JDS Uniphase — Origami Design Secrets, which was published in 2003 and lays out the underlying principles of origami and design techniques.
—Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, February 2007

When Robert J. Lang, a laser physicist, talks with passion about origami — the Japanese art of paper folding — the line between play and discovery also completely dissolves. Mr. Lang is what might be called an origamist (see www.langorigami.com). He wrote the book Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art and has created tarantulas, delicate herons, 12-spined shells and big-horned elk out of single, uncut, folded sheets of paper.
—Edward Rothstein, The New York Times, April 2006

This book is a synthesis of origami technique, history, and instructions, with very thoughtful and clear explanations for almost every aspect of the art of folding and designing origami.
—Sarah Gourlie, Math Horizons, January 2006

Lang chose to strike a balance between a book that describes origami design algorithmically and one that appeals to the origami community … . For mathematicians and origamists alike, Lang’s expository approach introduces the reader to technical aspects of folding and the mathematical models with clarity and good humor … Origami Design Secrets … is highly recommended for mathematicians and students alike who want to view, explore, wrestle with open problems in, or even try their own hand at the complexity of origami model design.
—Thomas C. Hull, The Mathematical Intelligencer, March 2005

This magisterial work, splendidly produced, covers all aspects of the art and science.
SIAM Book Review, November 2004

For most origami enthusiasts, the ancient Japanese art of folding and making creases is a mere hobby, and a grand pursuit for those giddily obsessed with the mathematics (or aesthetics) of how mere paper can be contorted into objects of beauty and interest. For Robert J. Lang, however, origami has become a life’s pursuit …
—Chad Berndtson, The Patriot Ledger, November 2004

… finally, the secrets of an origami master are revealed! It feels like Lang has taken you on as an apprentice as he teaches you his techniques, stepping you through examples of real origami designs and their development.
—Erik Demaine, October 2003

There is something for everyone here, whether beginner or expert, left-brained or right, specialist or dilettante.
—Gail Anderson, Engineering & Science, April 2003

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568814360
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/26/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 770
  • Sales rank: 534,082
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Lang has been an avid student of origami for over forty years and is now recognized as one of the world’s leading masters of the art. He is noted for designs of great detail and realism, and his repertoire includes some of the most complex origami designs ever created. His work combines aspects of the Western school of mathematical origami design with the Eastern emphasis upon line and form to yield models that are at once distinctive, elegant, and challenging to fold. They have been shown in exhibitions in New York (Museum of Modern Art), Paris (Carrousel du Louvre), Salem (Peabody Essex Museum), San Diego (Mingei Museum of World Folk Art), and Kaga, Japan (Nippon Museum of Origami), among others.

In 1992 Dr. Lang became the first Westerner ever invited to address the Nippon Origami Association’s annual meeting; he has since been an invited guest at international origami conventions around the world. He lectures widely on origami and its connections to mathematics, science, and technology and teaches workshops on both artistic techniques and applications of folding in industrial design.

Dr. Lang is one of the pioneers of the cross-disciplinary marriage of origami with mathematics; he has been one of the few Western columnists for Origami Tanteidan Magazine, the journal of the Japan Origami Academic Society, and has presented several refereed technical papers on origami-math at mathematical and computer science professional meetings. He has consulted on applications of origami to engineering problems ranging from air-bag design to expandable space telescopes. He is the author or co-author of twelve books and numerous articles on origami art and design.

Dr. Lang was born in Ohio and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Along the way to his current career as a full-time origami artist and consultant, he worked as a physicist, engineer, and R&D manager, during which time he authored or co-authored over 80 technical publications and 50 patents on semiconductor lasers, optics, and integrated optoelectronics. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a member of the IEEE Photonics Society, and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics from 2007–2010. In 2009, he received the highest honor of Caltech, the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Lang resides in Alamo, California.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Building Blocks
Elephant Design

Traditional Bases
Folding Instructions
Stealth Fighter. Snail. Valentine. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Baby.

Splitting Points
Folding Instructions
Pteranodon. Goatfish.

Folding Instructions
Songbird 1. KNL Dragon. Lizard. Tree Frog. Dancing Crane.

Pattern Grafting
Folding Instructions
Turtle. Western Pond Turtle. Koi.

Folding Instructions

Circle Packing
Folding Instructions
Emu. Songbird 2.

Folding Instructions
Orchid Blossom. Silverfish.

Tree Theory
Folding Instructions
Alamo Stallion. Roosevelt Elk.

Box Pleating
Folding Instructions
Organist. Black Forest Cuckoo Clock.

Uniaxial Box Pleating
Folding Instructions
Bull Moose

Polygon Packing
Crease Patterns
Flying Walking Stick. Salt Creek Tiger Beetle. Longhorn Beetle. Camel Spider. Water Strider. Scarab Beetle. Cicada Nymph. Scarab HP. Cyclomatus metallifer. Scorpion HP. Euthysanius Beetle. Spur-Legged Dung Beetle.

Hybrid Bases
Folding Instructions
African Elephant

Glossary of Terms

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2012

    Robert Lang’s Origami Design Secrets, published in 2003, h

    Robert Lang’s Origami Design Secrets, published in 2003, has become the bible of origami mathematical theory. Weighing in at 3-1/2 pounds and with 585 pages, it felt never-to-be-surpassed. But it has, as Lang has produced this expanded edition that tops the previous one by more than a pound and 170 new pages. If it gets any larger, it may go the way of the printed version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Get it while you can still hold it in your hands.

    Origami Design Secrets is an extraordinary codification of the mathematical tools used by Lang and an increasing number of other folders to design complex origami figures, those with slender legs and antennas, articulated body parts, textured scales and feathers, and other features not easily generated by means of traditional origami bases or trial and error. The essence of the mathematical approach is optimization. Complex models need to use paper efficiently in order to generate all those long, thin appendages, or else the paper will bunch up and your gazelle will look like a hippo.

    Lang’s analytical approach ensures that the paper is apportioned in the most efficient manner to achieve the desired result. Over the decades, Lang and other theorists have developed a profound understanding of how a square of paper folds up at the macro level (how efficient forms derive from the shape of a square), the micro level (what happens at each individual intersection of creases in the interior of the paper), and in between. Lang is generous in sharing credit for those discoveries, many of which are his. The culmination of Lang’s approach is his creation of computer programs that lay out the points and creases of the intended design on the actual square of paper. He sometimes uses a laser cutter to produce the patterns on handmade paper for his museum-quality models, an interesting mix of the crafted and the machined.

    In Lang’s approach, there is little role for chance and serendipity. Mathematical efficiency and rigor rule the day. That much premeditation will not be to every folder’s liking, and there is plenty of room in the creative origami world for different theologies. Yet there is no doubt that many of Lang’s finished creations are extremely beautiful, both on the surface and in the elegance of their folding process. Regrettably, Lang’s writing rarely touches on the artistry of the design process, and despite his attempt to make his mathematical theories and computer programs accessible to all, many other folders who implement his approach produce (in this reviewer’s eyes) little of aesthetic value.

    Now to the book itself, and to the expanded edition. The format is based on building up origami mathematical theory chapter by chapter, with nearly every chapter followed by instructions for folding several models of Lang’s own design. As the theory grows more complex, so do the models, and some of the later ones may take readers hours to construct. Those new to origami may hit a wall after just the first few chapters. This is one origami book that is not being marketed to beginners.

    Because of Origami Design Secrets’ formidable mathematical achievements, other of its accomplishments are rarely remarked on. First, Lang’s prose is colloquial and accessible, and he truly endeavors to explicate rather than obfuscate, which would have been the easier course. And second, his diagrams—both the step-by-step diagrams for folding the models and the analytical drawings, many of them in 3-D--are equally lucid. In the absence of Lang’s excellent communication skills, attempting to explain this complex material to the mathematical near-layman would not have been worth the effort.

    Readers who own the first edition will naturally wonder whether to purchase the second one. If you can afford it and have room on your bookshelf, I highly recommend it. The new edition contains two new chapters (on uniaxial box pleating and polygon packing), expanded and revised portions of other chapters, four new sets of diagrams (including instructions for a beautiful dancing crane), and a dozen mind-bogglingly complex and beautiful crease patterns to arthropods so creepy and real (a scorpion, a camel spider, a scarab beetle) that they will haunt your dreams. Origami Design Secrets edition number two will clearly remain the final word on its subject—until, of course, Lang comes out with edition number three.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)