An Olympic branding and design expert has said the Beijing 2022 mascots should "avoid cliches".
A worldwide competition was launched to design the mascots for the next Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in August.
Brad Copeland, who founded global brand design consultancy ICON and advises the International Olympic Committee (IOC), gave his advice to designers thinking of entering.
"I would say be wide open," he told China Daily.
"Avoid clichés and be your creative best."
Copeland designed the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games bidding logo.
IOC President Thomas Bach also offered his encouragement when Beijing 2022 President Cai Qi officially declared the competition open.
"Join the design competition to find the mascot of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games," Bach said.
"We trust that you will produce a fun mascot which will fascinate people around the globe and will be a great example for sports, and winter sports in particular."
Beijing will become the first city to stage both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, after China's capital played host to the former in 2008.
Beijing 2008's mascots were called "Fuwa" and featured five dolls - Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini.
They were designed by famous Chinese artist Han Meilin.