Young Ones Student Awards

The Young Ones competition is one of the most acclaimed advertising, interactive and design student competitions. It has a tradition of excellence dating back to 1986.

2023 Young Ones - Young Ones ADC

Dancing in Utopia

School Washington University in St. Louis / St. Louis


Publication Design / Books

Annual ID



This book observes and examines public square dance, a folk pastime among older Chinese people in public squares. Through design, research, bilingual writing, interview, survey, and original photography, the book uses the dance as a lens to gaze into the culture, history, and social—especially aging issues in modern China.

In the main section of the book, four chapters take on consecutive colors of a sunset gradient before the book retracts to a nightly black, mirroring the daily schedule of public square dancers. The gradient serves as a design motif throughout the book, as Chinese culture refers to the seniors as “a generation of sunset.”

The book references the movement of dancing in various ways, such as the motion-blurred images and type. The main body paragraphs dance between columns, just like how square dancers go back and forth one step at a time. Words from a primary survey are compiled according to the chapters’ themes. Just like the side-way images, the texts of survey spreads are placed in four different directions; readers are expected to rotate the book in all directions as if they are dancing with the book. The book also references vintage Chinese ephemera affiliated with the elderly. For example, chapter openers take forms of traditional calendars, which also host traditional auspicious iconography.

In every chapter, there is a two-sided newsprint short sheet presenting news about public square dance. Two images are on the spread sandwiching the newsprint, which symbolize the past and present, and thematically and compositionally echo with each other. When the newsprint is flipped, it covers and reveals the visual evidence of an era. Therefore, the book is able to metaphorically take the readers through time. Readers are challenged to contemplate how we have changed in the progression of our culture.

2023 Awards

Total Points: 1

Student Merit



Selina Kehuan Wu


Selina Kehuan Wu

College / University

Washington University in St. Louis / St. Louis
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