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Beijing 2022 mascots are a character design masterclass

Beijing 2022 mascots
(Image credit: Beijing 2022)

The year 2022 might sound a long way away, but for the organising committee behind the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it's not to early to start building the hype. And to keep the games on peoples' radar, it recently released a pair of frankly adorable mascots.

Unveiled with cute animations on the Beijing 2022 Twitter account, Bing Dwen Dwen (above left) and Shuey Rhon Rhon (above right) are a prime example of our character design (opens in new tab) tips in action. They're simple but distinctive, and we expect we'll be seeing a lot more from them in the lead up to the games.

We also like that they both take a familiar part of the region and build on that existing awareness. It's a clever approach that character designers would be wise to keep in mind when working on their next creation.

The first mascot to be announced was the cute panda, Bing Dwen Dwen, who is capable of zipping around the world and flying into outer space. Beijing 2022's organising committee had this to say about the mascot on Twitter (opens in new tab): "With a suit of ice, a heart of gold and a love of all things winter sports, this panda is ready to share the true spirit of the #Olympics with the whole world."

And in a short animated announcement video, below, we see that Bing Dwen Dwen got its powers with the help of a cosmic force that crashes into its bamboo forest home.

But Bing Dwen Dwen isn't left to carry the games by itself.

Next up is Shuey Rhon Rhon, who is described as a Chinese lantern child. This fiery character is the mascot for the Paralympic Winter Games, and we agree with the organising committee when it says (opens in new tab) Shuey Rhon Rhon "has already warmed our hearts!"

With its little eyes and oversized head, Shuey Rhon Rhon is the definition of cute. We also like how the mascot is something ordinary that gets turned into a character. Check out how it comes alive in the video below.

Designing a character can be a hard skill to master, and the Olympic Games is littered with forgettable creations. Anyone remember Wenlock and Mandeville from London 2012? Hopefully these two will make more of an impact.

Beijing 2022 will run from 4 February to 20 February, in the year 2022 (obviously).

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Dom Carter
Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.