Interviews with Guo Chunning – Designer of Insignia for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

June 27, 2008 – 12:02 pm

by:Liaoxiang (editor-in-chief of Visionunion)

Mr. Guo Chunning /Designer of Insignia for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Profile of Guo Chunning
Born in 1958 at Shenyang; Study art design at Tianjin Arts and Crafts School since 1975; Study Commercial Art Design at Decoration Dept. of Central Academy of Arts and Crafts(now Academy of Arts & Design of Tsinghua University) since 1980; Working at advertisement dept. of China Daily since 1984; Resign at 1988; Participate in establishment of Beijing Shichuang International Design Co., Ltd; As the nominee in name of the company, his original work China Stamp – Dancing Beijing became insignia for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Vision Union: You are the designer of insignia for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Now everybody clearly remembers the Chinese character in the insignia. As he designer of insignia for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, how did you get that idea?
Guo Chunning: The Olympic Games insignia was to be presented to all around the world. Both International Olympic Committee and China Olympic Committee emphasized the insignia reflect Chinese feature and Chinese culture, and stand for our local image. Every past session of Olympic Games was a perfect combination of Olympic spirit and local culture. People pay attention to the host city’s abundant culture intention while host the Olympic Games. It is a good opportunity to develop our excellent traditional culture through the Olympic Games insignia. The real inspiration came from seeking for the Chinese vision. What is Chinese vision? And what kind of vision could be the element in the design of the insignia? Chinese culture could be easily described as broad and deep with a long history. But it is a great challenge to express the culture graphically, using simple shape, combined with great meaning, and to be recognized by the whole world. While creating the Chinese vision concept, Chinese character was naturally adopted. The Chinese character is not only symbol and tool to record culture, but also unique art of China, with special visual feature. The character line structure is quite meaningful. Calligraphy and stamp carving are based on and developed on Chinese characters, which is widely accepted by the whole world. Foreign people could easily recognize the character be from China, while they may not know exact meaning of the character. The square Chinese characters remain its graphic meaning during long history. It is quite unique and represents the nation’s feature.

Refer to the content, the insignia should have both graceful shape and profound meaning, while the meaning plays the major role. Since Olympic Games are named with the name of host city, the insignia should be stressed on the host city’s local feature. We choose the character , which represent the city of Beijing. To discover other meanings of this character, we turned to the Modern Chinese Vocabulary, within which we found that this character was the abbreviation of Beijing, representing Beijing, the capital city. Also the character has no other meanings, including negative meanings. So we determined to use this character for the Olympic Games. The third reason for which we made the decision was that has simple line structure, which allows me to create a humanoid shape to strengthen visual shock or promote Olympic sports atmosphere. People could be easily evoked with the Olympic spirit through this humanoid insignia. By all means, we choose the character . Chinese character is the source for us in designing the insignia.

Insignia for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Vision Union: As a famous designer in China, what kind of opinion do you have when facing the opportunities brought by the Olympic Games?

Guo Chunning: The whole nation’s effort resulted in the arriving of the Olympic Games into China. It brings great opportunities to Chinese designers. As we know, Chinese designers have great expectation to the Games. They are eager to participate in the competitive and beneficial works. They also want to gain reputations and accept by the world. All Chinese designers have this thought. In the contrast, some designers, including some excellent domestic designers, gave up. The reason was not that they looked down on the opportunity. They felt having no satisfying inspiration to take part in the competition. I also felt confused at the beginning, because it was so difficult to be confirmed by the country and even by the whole world. I mentioned the Oscar Award before. To win the competition is harder than to win the Oscar, for Oscar is hold annually, while Olympic Games is hold every four years. The Olympic Games has a history of over 100 years. This is its first time to arrive in China. I believe all Chinese designers are willing to participate. Some asks how much money one could earn from this. I told them it is not the matter of money. We are willing to participate even without the promotion of money. Honor is more important than money. In fact, I myself was driven by the Olympic spirit to carry out the work. One of the Olympic slogan is that participating is winning. Participating is really important. I believe that action leads to success when we face opportunities.

Guo Chunning(left) and Liaoxiang(right)

original text

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