Cut & Paste digital design battle!


Saturday night I went to Kowloon Tong to check out the Cut & Paste Digital Design Tournament. Based on the interesting underlying concept of a live design competition, I was intrigued to catch it firsthand.

Arriving at the curiously named Innocentre, a facility financed by the government to promote design (whose website doesn’t even work,) I stepped in and saw the event already underway. Several huge video panels hung over a group of computer workstations with the designers busily interacting below. The sizable crowd – a larger turnout than I had expected, were craning their necks for a look at the designs being hatched.

Cut & Paste works like this: the designers are given a word, or an assignment, and they must create something from scratch that meets that description. The interesting part is that they do it live, with a time limit – I believe it was 15 minutes per heat. Part of the excitement is that the audience gets to watch the artist’s monitors to see how they put a particular piece together.


Arriving late, I couldn’t tell what the artists were creating for the first heat. The works were decent, but not on an international design level. Out of that first batch, two designers would advance to the next round. The second heat featured the same subject, which I thought was odd, since it was then giving the other contestants more time to plan their work.

In a real battle, it would be more interesting to see designers who could truly think on their feet. Due to the props employed by one of the designers in a later round, it seemed as though the contestants already knew the subjects ahead of time. To me that’s a disappointment. Perhaps it was necessary in Hong Kong because many designers are risk averse, and afraid to lose face by performing poorly in front of a crowd, but it’s nowhere near as challenging as having to create something totally on the spot.

There was a chance for audience members to also compete. Every time I walked out of the spotlight towards the back of the venue, people were hard at work responding to the same challenge on a bank of Macs.

It was entertaining to watch the designs in competition take shape. The crowd would stare up at the banks of screens and evaluate each designer’s work.

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You could see the designers trying out various color variations and textures, giving you insight into their creative process.

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The M.C. of the night, Ghost Style from the group 24 Herbs did a good job keeping the crowd enthusiastic about the competition.


Music for the night was provided by D.J. Vinnie from Kee Club.

In between rounds the judges didn’t offer much insight. It would have been better to see them score the contestants by certain criteria and then tally the scores. For example, some of the factors they could have evaluated were: concept, technique, and how exact the designers were at addressing the question.


Tat, the ultimate winner, had a final design that was very of the moment, tied to issues relating to Hong Kong. Want to decide for yourself who the winner should have been? Have a look at the artwork created in the competition on the Cut & Paste site here.


  • yeah, you’re totally correct about the contestants being given the subject/theme beforehand…! BUT, it’s not just for HK. they do that in NY too…..!!! a farce, huh??!!

  • Hi D,

    I guess they believe it might make for a better show if the designs are put together well, but it would be much more exciting if they didn’t tell them ahead of time. I’d expect the designs I saw that night to be of a much higher quality then…

  • yeah it’s a pointless “competition”. seems like it’s really for the sponsors and not about being creative.

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