The panda mascot of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Bing Dwen Dwen, which means “ice and toughness” in English, has become a huge hit at home and abroad. People lined up for hours in cold weather outside authorized merchandise stores in Beijing to buy the souvenirs until they ran out.
Factories in many cities across China are ramping up production to satisfy the little panda’s crazy fans.
Cao Xue, head of Beijing’s Olympic mascot design team, told CGTN in an exclusive interview that he didn’t expect Bing Dwen Dwen to be so well received.
“Certainly, I wasn’t the only one surprised. The whole design team didn’t expect Bing Dwen Dwen to be so popular,” Cao told CGTN. “We gave away all the stock to friends and family before the Olympic Opening Ceremony because we thought no one would buy it once the Games started.”
Bing Dwen Dwen has undoubtedly become a star outside of games, both offline and online. The number of searches for the mascot on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, is soaring into the millions every day, and the number of posts is also skyrocketing.
Asked about the reasons for the frenzy, Cao said he had become “more than just a mascot”.
“I think we can all feel the warmth brought by the cute panda. When people hold a Bing Dwen Dwen, they can feel joy. I saw the news that people were waiting outside the stores in the weather. cold to buy Bing Dwen Dwen products. I’m very touched. My team and I are very grateful that people love the little panda,” he said.
While the mascot is adored by millions, the journey to the much-loved design hasn’t always been easy.
The team had hit a bottleneck before adding the “colored ribbon” around Bing Dwen Dwen’s face, which people call her “energy ring.”
Cao said the designers knew something was missing, but just didn’t know what to add.
“We struggled to find the exact element to add – the visual accent. Then we came across the design of the Chinese national inline speed skating ring – the ice ribbon. So we had the idea of combining the ribbon and the panda,” he said. noted.
“I still remember that day when we were in Beijing. Everyone on the team was sitting in front of the computer, anticipating a magical moment. We used 3D modeling to create the ribbon, then moved it to Bing Dwen Dwen’s face on the computer,” he recalled.
“It’s like when you do a huge project, like closing a bridge or launching a 1,000 ton ship. The moment the ribbon and the face came together on screen, we all knew that was it. This is our Bing Dwen Dwen,” Cao said.
A teacher at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Cao has his own “calm” way of thinking.
“I always keep the fundamental design philosophies in mind. Good design is not always about taking away but adding. harder job,” he said.
Capitalizing on his instant fame due to Bing Dwen Dwen, Cao and his team began investigating other studies related to this phenomenon, focusing on design concepts and market reaction. He hopes it will boost the development of visual design in China and lead to more creative designs.
(Cover image via CFP)