The smiling face that will welcome visitors to the southern city of Shenzhen for the 26th Summer Universiade is "UU"- a cartoon figure derived from the games' logo.
The mascot was designed by a Shenzhen graphic arts team who say UU has broken with tradition.
"It embodies nothing specific," said Wang Yuefei, one of the five designers of the mascot. "But it is vibrant and energetic." The mascot symbolizes the open, friendly and tolerant spirit of the Universiade, Wang said.
Zhao Jian, vice-dean of the Guangzhou Academy
of Fine Arts, agreed that the image is innovative.
"The mascot is not a human, nor an animal or plant. It is a brave design created by local designers," said Zhao. "With a geometric and abstract image, the mascot can also be reproduced as toys in different materials or in graphics or can be used in animation."
"The mascot is a cultural symbol of the Shenzhen Universiade and embodies the city's characteristics of openness, youth and fashion," said Shenzhen Party chief Liu Yupu at the unveiling ceremony on November 22 last year.
Olympic gold medalists diver Guo Jingjing and fencer Zhong Man attended the ceremony along with 4,000 university students from across the country.
The winning design was chosen from more than 2,000 entries - 30 of which were submitted from the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Australia - that were received by the Shenhen Universiade organizing committee between January 17 and May 20 last year.
Most of the designs closely followed the concept of "Happy U", the official logo of the Universiade Shenzhen 2011 that was unveiled on January 8, 2008.
The logo is composed of three parts: colored dots in the shape of a semicircle at the top, the words Universiade Shenzhen 2011 in the middle and five stars at the bottom.
The five stars represent the logo of the International University Sports Federation, organizer of the World University Games, or Universiade, which is held every two years.
The logo's red, green, yellow, blue and black dots together, comprise the letter "U," which designers say symbolizes the open, friendly and tolerant spirit of the Universiade.
Along with the official logo and mascot, the organizers have chosen "Start Here" as the slogan for the Universiade Shenzhen 2011.
"The slogan 'Start Here' shows the value of Shenzhen as a pioneer city in China's participation in globalization," said Shenzhen Vice-Mayor Liang Daoxing.
"It also shows the status of Shenzhen as the vanguard and experimental field of China's reform and opening-up policy."
The slogan was chosen from more than 16,000 submissions received by the organizers from October 18 to December 31, 2007.