A Fusion of Local Culture and a Global Event: A Case Study of the 2008 Olympic Mascot Design

By Henry Ma and Guanying Wu.

Published by The International Journal of Visual Design

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Olympic Games are global events which aim to build a peaceful and better world through supporting and promoting the spirit of fair play in sport. The Olympic Mascot carries the symbolic meaning of the Olympic Games yet also represents the cultural heritage of the host city. How to blend local culture with the Olympic spirit and realize them in a global event is the major concern when designing an Olympic Mascot. One of the Authors of this paper is the original concept designer of the Beijing 2008 Olympic mascot. This paper documents the inspiration which led to the original concept of the 2008 Olympic mascot design, and describes in detail how traditional Chinese culture was adapted to reflect the Olympic spirit in the evolution of the mascot design. It also shows how to blend local Chinese culture effectively with global recognition, and realize local attraction in a global event.

Keywords: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Olympic Mascot Design, Fuwa, Five Elements

The International Journal of Visual Design, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.55-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 340.815KB).

Henry Ma

Associate Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Henry Ma currently serves as associate dean of School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is a guest professor at the Beijing Film Academy and a visiting professor at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts. In 2007, he obtained the 1st Hong Kong Digital Entertainment Industry Person of the Year Award (Digital Entertainment Education Category). With his active participation in the creative media industry, he has been involved in the design and production of stages, film and TV projects, and he is currently a board member of the Hong Kong ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapter.

Prof. Guanying Wu

Professor, Academy of Art and Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Wu Guanying currently serves as a professor in the Academy of Art and Design, Tsinghua University. He is the vice chairman of the Animation Art Committee of the Artists Association of China and an expert member of Inter-Ministry Joint Expert Committee for Supporting Animation Industry of the Ministry of Culture. He actively participates in academic research as well as professional practice in animation work. He is the original and principal designer for both mascots, “Fuwa” for Beijing Olympic Games 2008 and “Fu Niu Lele” for Beijing Paralympic Games 2008.