Design For The Real China

Hi all
A friend of mine has been organizing a competition in china called ‘Design For The Real China’. The competition is open to everyone, regardless of where you live as many of the problems people face are universal. The deadline isn’t too far away (October 31st) but might be an interesting project. Anyway, go have a look here:

It looks like an interesting competition but I do however have some concerns on the information given…

  1. What are the categories? Is it just professional and student?

  2. According to the info given in the event section on the Awards, the design that affects one person wins RMB 100,000 and the design that affects 10,000+ people win RMB 1. Surely this should be the other way round??

I’d be very grateful if you could answer these questions…

Liam Carter-Hawkins, I’ve read through the brief and it seems that the categories are the scale/# of people affected by your design, and they don’t care if you’re a student or professional (or whether you work in the design field or not). I actually really appreciate that they set this up this way. I’m also curious about the awarding, which seems inverted, as you mentioned. Maybe I just misunderstand the meaning behind it.

Hi all, I’ve asked Ben who is one of the competition organisers to respond to this, so I hope he picks his email up soon and comes back to you with answers. PT

Fantastic, thanks!

Dear All, Thanks for your interest in the competition and thanks to Marcus for posting it.
I hope I can answer your questions.
A little brief history: The competition was set up to address an imbalance in the understanding of ‘design’ in China - amongst students, amongst consumers, amongst designers…
i.e. design is almost exclusively linked to lifestyle and luxury consumption. It is seen as something to aspire to rather than something accessible by all.
The organisers felt that a competition would be an interesting way to explore this.
I was anxious that we didn’t simply reproduce familiar modes of design competition. Many of these (you know who you are) appear to place image, styling and presentation over content and do not insist on development, prototyping or testing. Many also seem to favour slick exterior computer visuals and don’t require any level of depth. Some (again, you know who you are) seem to exist solely as commercial entities to extract money out of students and young designers, first for entering, then for publishing, then for attending awards ceremonies, then for receiving an award….
We also wanted to place an emphasis on the explanation of the problem being addressed. Those competitions that provide briefs are often so limited and so full of assumptions that we wanted to remove that element. Therefore there is no brief, but participants are asked to explain the problem they are tackling. Often the problem is as interesting as the solution…
We wanted to remove the influence of judges who often have their own agenda… so the judging is by popular online vote.
And… we wanted to create some sort of incentive, but use this in a novel way.
Therefore – the categories are not linked to traditional divisions of design activity – graphic design, product design, textiles, fashion, furniture etc… – but are decided according to the number of people affected by the design. This is potentially the most confusing part. Because we ask that all entries are prototyped and tested in some way, the category is linked to the number of people who have been affected so far. Therefore, a product that is on the market and has sold well may have affected 10,000 or more people. A prototype that you have shared with your classmates and friends might have affected 50 people. Something that you made for a relative to solve a particular problem might have affected just one person.
The prize money is allocated in inverse proportion to this category. i.e. if the design has affected many people, the prize money is low.
This structure allows us to support emerging designs by giving money while at the same time recognising designs that are already successful. In this way, we hope to accommodate and attract entries from established manufacturers as well as people working on their own with limited resources. As well as the cash incentive, winning entries will receive a warm glow, a physical award, be able to cite our endorsement, be featured on the website, be featured during Milan Salone del Mobile and Beijing Design Week.
Entry: Rather than slick computer visuals, we are asking participants to submit a short video explaining both the problem they are addressing and their solution. While this may not be available to everyone, we hope that it extends entry to those outside of the design mainstream.
We hope the competition will attract international entries. While we have China in the title, the competition is bilingual and not limited to Chinese entries. While we are looking to solve problems that exist in China, these problems are usually present elsewhere. It is the perception of design in China we are trying to change.
I would like to take this chance to encourage any readers of Core77 to spread the word and enter if you have something you think might be suitable. Entry is not limited to unpublished ideas or unproduced ideas. Do not worry if your video skills are not professional, or even if your prototype is not the most beautiful – you can see some examples already on our site:
Entry is open until the end of October.
If you are in Beijing, we are currently working on an exhibition for Beijing Design Week, which opens tomorrow (I should be down there setting it up!). We are in DaShiLar, and the show runs until 3rd October 10am-6pm. There will be an interactive element to the show.
I hope this has addressed some of the questions, but feel free to ask more, or get in touch via our website for anything else.
Best wishes,