Koryo Tours launches
North Korean stamp
design competition

Win a $1,000 cash prize with our inaugural design competition!

Here at Koryo, we’re committed to opening up the conversation between people in North Korea and people outside it. That’s why as well as running tours to the country, for over 25 years we’ve worked on a number of artistic collaborations that help to bridge the divide between the elusive DPRK and the rest of the world.

Whether that’s taking Michael Palin to North Korea to film a travel show watched by millions, bringing North Korean architects’ designs to the Korea Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale (winning that year’s Golden Lion) or publishing Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life in the DPRK – a unique collection of North Korean graphic design that went on to be a groundbreaking exhibition in Seoul.

Our latest plan to celebrate cultural exchange is a stamp competition. We are inviting talented artists from all over the world to design a commemorative postage stamp for the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon (the Pyongyang Marathon), the DPRK’s biggest annual sporting event that we are the exclusive foreign partners for. Every year we bring hundreds of tourists to run alongside locals through the streets of Pyongyang in what is one of the most unguarded experiences you can have as a foreigner in the country.

The stamp should represent the spirit of this very special event: the themes of engagement & friendship are what the race, the stamp competition, and Koryo’s work in general are all about.

The entrants will be judged by a panel led by Nicholas Bonner, the founder of Koryo and expert on North Korean art and design. The panel will include a mix of foreign and North Korean judges. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,000, as well as having their design printed in the DPRK as a physical stamp for next year’s marathon in April 2020. Three runners up will receive a signed copy of Made in North Korea, and the judges’ top 10 entries will be showcased in an online gallery.The winning stamp will be available for purchase and can be used for posting from Pyongyang!

The rules

Designs must be sent to [email protected]. See below for the technical requirements. Please include your full name and brief bio in the body of the email. The deadline is 15 October 2019, with winners announced later in the year.

Terms and conditions

Limit of two design per entrant.

The deadline is midnight Beijing time on 15 October 2019. Late entries will not be considered.

All contestants MUST be age 16 or over at time of entry. If you are under the age of 18, your parent of legal guardian must agree to your entry – please include details of this in the body of the email.

No unauthorized use of any copyright images or other material will be accepted. All entries must be the designer’s original work. Plagiarism is not tolerated.

Use of photography is not accepted.

Do not include text on the design – the stamp will be printed with ‘Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon 2020’ and ‘Koryo Tours’.

Do not include political themes.


By submitting your artwork you authorize Koryo Tours to use your entry and display prints of your design for marketing purposes. If a design is picked as a winner then the rights transfer to Koryo Tours. The winning designer will not retain any copyrights for that chosen design.

The nitty gritty

Computer aided designs must be high resolution (300dpi). Remember to keep the original files of your work. Do not upload them.

For hand drawn artwork, please keep original work so that if selected we can ask for bigger file.

Designs must be in .ai or .psd format.

RGB format


Dimensions fitting the stamps are 45x33mm or 57x36mm; horizontal or vertical format

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WhatsApp (message only): +44 7822 014058
Room A409, Jucai Building. No. 76 Caoyuan Hutong.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100027, PR China

中国北京市东城区草园胡同76号聚才大厦A 座409 室,
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