The 2022 Winter Olympics' mascot was created by Guangzhou designers

BY :Dong Han, Louis Berney

UPDATED :September 23, 2019


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Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, was unveiled by the Beijing Organizing Committee on September 17. With a suit of ice and a halo surrounding its face, the panda mascot was designed by a team led by Cao Xue, dean of the school of visual communication at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (GAFA).

Cao Xue, dean of the school of visual communication at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

People might wonder why the team, which comes from southern China and rarely sees snow, became the designer of the Olympic Winter Games’ mascot. Cao and his partner Liu Pingyun, associate professor at GAFA, told the story behind the birth of Bing Dwen Dwen at a press conference organized by the Information Office of Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government on September 19.
He admitted that at the beginning, the organizing committee had a lot of concerns, since it seldom snows in Guangzhou. A mascot for the Winter Olympics might seem an unlikely mission for southern designers who had never seen snow and ice. “However, I believe that people who have never seen snow may have extraordinary imagination and creativity for freezing cold and winter sports, which may create miracles!” Cao said.
When asked why they choose a panda as the prototype of Bing Dwen Dwen, Cao replied that the Winter Olympics is an international sports event and that the designers had to create a Chinese representative mascot from the perspective of foreign friends. “I went abroad twice and passed through six countries during the 10-month designing process,” Cao said. “I can see panda elements in almost every country, which shows that those foreigners' fondness for panda is beyond our imagination.” 
To create a lovely but unique panda mascot was also a big challenge for the design team, for there are so many panda images and artworks in China. Liu said that in the process of design, they collected thousands of panda images on the global internet and observed their characteristics, so as to avoid similarity and infringement. “In a world-class event like the Winter Olympics, we must produce a totally different mascot to prevent copyright disputes,” Liu explained.
The halo surrounding Bing Dwen Dwen's face is suggestive of ice and snow tracks, as well as the flowing "ribbons" on the exterior of the National Speed Skating Oval, one of the two new venues in downtown Beijing expected to become a landmark of the Games, according to Cao. Furthermore, when the colored halo sparkles with a clear jingling sound, the mascot will automatically wear winter sports equipment like ice skates and goggles.
Based in Guangzhou, Cao and his team subconsciously integrated the city’s features—openness and inclusiveness—into their design work. The panda mascot from the GAFA reflects that Guangzhou is at the forefront of China’s reform and opening up, said an expert from the Beijing Organizing Committee.
Cao also is the designer of Guangzhou’s city logo and the 2019 Asian Cuisine Festival’s logo. Liu is the designer of Yamei, the mascot of the cuisine festival.