While the West has a zodiac of twelve constellations, China’s zodiac is composed of twelve animals. Every person identifies with an animal based on their birth year. Next year is the Year of the Dragon which is the first year of the Chinese zodiac and an important year of the zodiac cycle. According to Chinese tradition, China is the dragon’s homeland and Chinese people consider themselves decedents of the dragon.

What is the Chinese dragon?

The Chinese dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac.

According to the Chinese ancient book Explaining Simple and Analyzing Compound Characters, the dragon is a mythic animal that can be both visible or invisible, large or small, long or short, and possesses the ability to fly skyward during the spring equinox or fall downward to the rivers during the autumn equinox.

In the 2000 year-old reference book, The Classics of Mountains and Seas, the dragon is an ancient animal that has combined physical characteristics from many animals. The Chinese dragon has features taken from nine distinct animals as recorded in Compendium of Materia Medica written during the Ming Dynasty. Early Chinese created the dragon by borrowing the best features in form and appearance from local animals and combining them in their imaginations.

In ancient times, when natural phenomena such as rain and thunder could not be explained, the totem spirit, the dragon, created by the Chinese which was said to be the source of the wind, rain, thunder and lightning, was believed to embody the magnitude of the mountains, and to posses the ability to swim the waters and soar through the skies. Its complex structure and incredible abilities enabled the dragon to rank at the top of all animals and to become an almighty god of the people.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in conversation between Cao Cao and Liu Bei about their heroes, the two main characters came to the conclusion: “The dragon can both expand and contract itself, and it can surge above or and lie beneath the water’s surface. Enlarged, it creates clouds and spews mist. Contracted, it can veil its scaly form from view. Aloft it prances triumphantly in the upper realms of the heavens. Under the water’s surface, it lurks among the breaking waves. Now in the fullness of spring, it takes up the season, like men who wish to fulfill an ambition to dominate the length and breadth of the land. In this respect the dragon can well be compared to the heroes of our age.”

The dragon is one of the earliest and most highly imaginative creations of Chinese culture and has served as the spiritual motivation for the Chinese nation for the thousands of years of continuous civilization; it is a symbol which differentiates China from other nations of the world.


1. Goal
This competition aims to promote communication, exchange and interaction between China and the world by bring together designers to create creative, innovative designs based around the theme of the Chinese dragon. In a quickly developing and changing world, China is excited to promote design by designers and artists from multicultural backgrounds and diverse understandings promoting the concept of “harmony and uniqueness”.

2. Theme
English:Chinese Dragon

3. Content
Original and creative designed works which reflect the theme of the Chinese Dragon

4. Types
Graphic design
Digital and Multi-Media Design
Installation design
Product design

Professional designers and operating within the visual design domain throughout the world. Design students and teachers or those in working and studying in related fields.

July 31, 2011 through September 27, 2011

The international panel of judges composed of famous designers and artists will convene in Beijing in October 2011.

8.Awards Ceremony and Exhibition
The Chinese Dragon Exhibition and awards ceremony containing Finalist entries from the competition will be held in January 2012 at the Capital Museum of China.

9.Record of the Collection
Finalist entries and the invited international design masters works will appear in a publication produced by the organizing committee entitled, 2012 Dragon Collection.


Host: PoloArts

Co-Hosts: AIGA and Capital Museum of China

Supporting Organization: Beijing Design Week

Media Hosts: BQ Weekly and Zcool

Photographic Support: Quanjing

Supporting Media: Arts and Design / Surface / CGWORLD / Art Value / Art & Investment / Global Times (English Version) / Beijing Today / / / / Blueidea / ARTING365 / The Economic Observer / FM87.6


There will be 100 Finalists, from which 17 award winning entries will be chosen. The total value of the awards: RMB 360,000. Each finalist and each award-winner will receive a trophy and a certificate in addition to the following cash prizes:

Finalists (100): RMB 1,000


Awards of Excellence (10): RMB 5,000

Best Overall Work (1): RMB 70,000

Most Innovative Work (1): RMB 30,000

Best Concept (1):RMB 30,000

Best of Graphic Design (1): RMB 20,000

Best of Digital and Multi-Media Design (1): RMB 20,000

Best of Installation Design (1): RMB 20,000

Best of Product Design (1): RMB 20,000

*Note: Winners of the Dragon Awards will forfeit their RMB 1,000 Finalist prize in lieu of the larger cash prize designated for these 17 categories.


1. Free entry

2. Entrant
Professional designers and operating within the visual design domain throughout the world.
Design students and teachers or those in working and studying in related fields.
No limitations on age, rank, or professional status.

3. Individuals and teams are invited to register in this competition. There is no limit to the quantity of works that can be entered; only one entry per team/individual can receive an award; judging will be based on entered works, not teams/individuals.


1. The Chinese dragon is to be the main content of the designed work and the Year of the Dragon is the overarching theme of the competition. Unique and classical characteristics of the Chinese dragon and should be utilized and combined with modern design concepts to create new content featuring the theme in creative and innovative ways.

2. Works must follow the theme of the Chinese dragon and submitted items that are wholly designed according to the concept of the Western dragon or the dinosaur dragon will be rejected. However, works which cross these boundaries and combine elements of the Chinese dragon with elements of the Western or dinosaur dragons will be accepted.

3. Each entry should be creative and original in nature, profound in meaning and ingenious in design. The entry should possess Chinese flavor, and could also possess internationalized qualities; it could be intellectual, interesting, provocative or fun.

4. Graphic design
- Including packaging, books, logos, posters, and typography.
- Graphic design: hand-drawn or computer graphics, non-photographic (including hand-drawn, computer-aided, comics, graphics, or textual graphics, etc…).
- Photography: acceptable photographic formats include the combination of multiple photographs, photographs combined with graphics, photographs combined with additional elements such as drawing or collage.
*Method of Submission :
a) Initial Submission: Upload image to website (≥1200 pixels, not larger than 2MB, RGB. Entries should be designed and uploaded in accordance with the template available for download).
b) Final selection: Send the original file and an A4 print by mail or courier. (CD-R or DVD-R of the original file and an A4 sized print produced in accordance with the template available for download.)

5. Digital and Multi-Media Design:
- Moving images as a form of design is separated into animation, digital media and short films.
- Digital equipment should be used to film, edit, and add effects for short film submissions.
*Format: ≥720*480dpi in clarity, no time length limit, animations to be submitted in AVI, short videos to be submitted in WMV, playable in DVD format.
*Method of Submission:
a) Initial submission: Upload 30 second clip to website (SWF format, ≤15M).
b) Final selection: Send the original file and three to five A4 screenshots by mail or courier. (DVD-R, screenshots to be printed in accordance with the template available for download).

6. Installation design
- Within a given space, to select, use, transform and combine effectively those things that are consumed or unconsumed in daily life approaching from an artistic perspective so that the work can become a new art form.
*Method of Submission
a) Initial submission: Upload designsketch or triple-view file to the website (≥1200 pixels, not larger than 2MB, RGB. Entries should be designed and uploaded in accordance with the template available for download).
b) Final selection: Send the original file and A4 screenshots by mail or courier. (DVD-R, screenshots to be printed in accordance with the template available for download).

7. Product design
- Designed works that have practical functions including home, office and outdoor supplies, clothing, souvenirs and handicrafts.
*Method of Submission:
a) Initial submission: Upload designsketch or triple-view file to the website (≥1200 pixels, not larger than 2MB, RGB. Entries should be designed and uploaded in accordance with the template available for download).
b) Final selection: Send the original file and an A4 screenshots by mail or courier. (DVD-R, screenshots to be printed in accordance with the template available for download).

Further Guidelines for Entrants

1. The designer's name and logo may not appear anywhere on the entry, or the organizing committee reserves the right to exclude it from the competition.

2. An introduction of 300 Chinese characters or 600 words must be submitted along with the entry.

3. All entries are to be uploaded to the official competition website:

4. Original versions of short listed entries must be submitted by mail or courier and postmarked by November 20, 2011 in order to be considered in the final selection process and the mailing address is: China International Design Competition Committee, PO Box 100015-16, Floor 3 B01-1, 2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100015, China.

Judging Considerations

Inheritance: Visual elements should capture and represent the traditional essence of the Chinese dragon.

Innovative: A strong concept, creative use of dragon elements, and unique perspective should be integrated into the work to bring the audience a new visual experience.

Modern: Entries should be attractive to a modern audience and influential in style.

International: Entries should combine elements of Chinese culture, and also reflect international visual language and design techniques.

Aesthetic: Entries should possess visual expression that reflects a core of Chinese traditional culture as exemplified by the Chinese dragon and be combined with technology creatively according to the style of the designer.

Inspiring: Entries should reflect the designer’s personal style, which could arouse and inspire others leading to more development in design in China.

Marketable: Entries should possess practical function and have the potential to be made into commercial products.

Sustainable: Entries should be approached with an environmental consciousness and make use of green production methods, efficient technologies, and renewable materials, which aim to create the best design effect with minimum environment impact.


1. Timetable

Submission Deadline: September 27, 2011 17:00 (GMT+08:00)

Judging Period: September 28, 2011 through October 1, 2011

Postmark Deadline for short-listed entries: November 20, 2011

Awards Ceremony and Exhibition: January 19, 2012

*The organizer reserves the right to change the dates. Please check the official website for the most up-to-date information.

2. Registration Guidelines

a) Fill in the online registration form on the official website (; Registration requires a name (individual or group), address, telephone number, e-mail. In the case of group registration, all participants are required to sign the participation agreement.

b) The system will automatically generate a confirmation notice sent to the entrant by email once the registration process is complete.

3. Entrants, evaluation and exhibition

a) All entries must be submitted by September 27, 2011.

b) The judging committee will select 100 entries as Finalists to progress onto the second round of selection.

c) The judging committee will select the award winning entries from the 100 Finalists.

d) Winning entries will be announced on the official competition website on October 1, 2011.

e) Finalist and winning entries will be displayed at the Chinese Dragon Exhibition at Capital Museum of China in January 2012.

f) Finalist and winning entries will appear in the 2012 Dragon Collection to be published by the organizer.

Terms and Conditions

1. Participating works may not contain content which violates the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, may not contain discriminatory content involving pornography, violence, sex, or religion, and may not violate the privacy of others. Entrants are legally responsible for any content they submit.

2. Entries must be original designs. Plagiarism or theft of the work of others will lead to disqualification and entrants are responsible for any legal consequences.

3. Entries must be original, and cannot be previously published, or commercialized.

4. The organizers reserve the right to disqualify any entries that do not meet the requirements of the competition.

5. Entrants should retain all original design files, which could be requested by the organizer if selected as a Finalist. Entries will be considered invalid if an original file cannot be submitted and will be replaced by other entries.

6. The entrants shall, upon being nominated, actively assist the organizer in preparing for exhibition of the nominated works, or otherwise shall be disqualified for such nomination;

7. The organizing and judging committees are not responsible for damages or data loss to entries incurred during the shipping process or other incidental events.

8. Entrants bear all costs relating to mailing or shipping their entries.

9.No participating works will be returned.

10. The official website for the competition is the initial publishing website, participants shall not publish the competing works on other internet or paper media without the organizer's written permission; the participants shall indicate the origin (website link) should they republish the competing works.

11. All prize awards are stated as a pre-tax amount. Winning entrants will be taxed in accordance with local tax regulations.

12. The winning entrants, individuals or groups, shall submit valid identification documents to organizing committee. Those who are unable to provide proper proof of identification will have their award revoked.

13. Entrant’s personal information collected by organizers will be used exclusively for the purposes of the event and will not be disclosed to third parties.

14. In case of any amendment of this Regulation, such amendment shall be prompted on the official website of CIDC. In the event that any entrant refuses to accept such amendment, the entrant has the right to withdraw from the competition. If, within ten working days upon announcement, any entrant fails to notify the organization committee of giving up the competition, the entrant will be deemed as accepting such amendments;

15. The organizing committee shall deem a complete submission as an indication that an entrant accepts the terms of participation.

16. The organizing committee reserves the right of final interpretation of this competition.

Intellectual Property Rights

1. Entrants may submit works created individually or in cooperation, and co-authors or groups can jointly participate in the competition. The entrants shall confirm the originality of their works and the organization committee and organizer shall not undertake any legal liability arising from any infringement of individual or institutional rights (including but not limited to portrait right, right of reputation, right of privacy, copyright and right of trademark) which will be undertaken by the entrants personally. The organizers and the organization committee reserve the right to cancel their competition qualification and recover the award, bonus and prize;

2. The organizer enjoys all the copyright and relevant neighboring rights to all the nominated and awarded works, the authors for the nominated and awarded works enjoy the signatory rights to the works; the copyright of other works belongs to the original authors.

3. The organizer has the right to decide to enter into copyright ownership agreement with all or some of the authors of the nominated or awarded works under the framework of this brochure, if relevant participating authors refuse to enter into the agreement, it shall be deemed that such authors have given up the qualification for nomination and award, and shall return the award and all bonus to the organizer.

4. The organizer has the right to exhibit, report and propagate all the submitted works with the names of their authors;

5. During the competition, the entrants shall not assign or license their competing works to any third party and shall not use such works for participating in other activities with the same or similar nature of this competition. Without obtaining the written authorization from the organizer, no individuals or organizations shall use the submitted works for any commercial purpose. Upon publication of judging results, the authors can assign or license their works, if not awarded in the competition, to any third party;

6. Submission of works for the competition shall be deemed as accepting the terms and contexts herein;

7. The organizer and the organizing committee reserve the right for final interpretation of the competition and introduction herein;

8. All legal affairs relevant to the competition shall be subject to the law of the People’s Republic of China. In case of any dispute arising from the competition, it shall be referred to the people’s court of the place where the organizer is located.


1. Awards Ceremony
The announcements of the 17 awarding winning entries chosen from among the 100 Finalists will occur at the Capital of Museum of China in January 2012; presenters at the Awards Ceremony include international design masters and Chinese celebrities. The Year of the Dragon, and the winning entries mark the first year of the 12 year Chinese zodiac cycle during which, the organizing committee is planning relevant events to complete a global collection of designed works relating to each zodiac animal with the goal of promoting cross-cultural design in China and throughout the world.

2.Chinese Dragon Exhibition
The Chinese Dragon Exhibition, to be held at the Capital Museum of China at the turn of the new year, will include all Finalists and award winning entries becoming a spotlight event to welcome the Year of the Dragon.

3. Seeking the Dragon
This specially planned journey identifies places within China that contain dragon-themed elements from throughout history. The committee will invite nine design masters from throughout the world to visit the most important sites and monuments relating to the theme of the Year of the Dragon. The tour will start with prehistoric totem manifestations of the dragon and continue progressing through five thousand years of Chinese dynastic history to observe the dynamic changes in imagery as the dragon became a creature of revered as a god. The nine design masters will each design a Chinese dragon-themed work based on their own understanding of the dragon, their own creative thoughts, and using their individual form of expression; the goal of the works will be the concept of “harmony and uniqueness”. These works will be displayed in a special section of the Chinese Dragon Exhibition.

4. Chinese Dragon Forum
The nine design masters that are part of the Seeking the Dragon tour will take part in a forum along with competition entrants to discuss “International and Chinese Perspectives of the Dragon in a Cultural Context” and “The Dragon Form” from a design perspective. Both topics are intended to use the topic of the dragon to inspire conversations about cultural differences and approaches to design. Additionally, the goal of the forum is to allow participants to ponder how each nation’s unique culture and perspective can be maintained while operating in a global environment that promotes sharing and collaboration.

5. Dragon’s Economy
The organizing committee will not only present the results of the competition in an exhibition, but also intend to launch a marketable product series utilizing the concepts and submitted designs. To create the needed value chains, the organizers will host a summit The Year of the Dragon Value Congress, to invite brands and companies that already hold the dragon as an important element of their identity, including: Mercedes-Benz International, PSA Peugeot Citroën, China Construction Bank, Huaxia Bank, and Dragon Airlines.

6. 2012 Dragon Collection
Finalist entries and the invited international design masters works will appear in a publication produced by the organizing committee entitled, 2012Dragon Collection.