Students from 18 countries and regions put their skills to the test in what could be called the Olympics of package design.

After the theme of "pet food" was announced at the inaugural “Olympac” contest in Tokyo on Dec. 4, the 18 students started giving expression to their ideas, each with a computer.

They were given just 105 minutes, and their progress was displayed on a large screen in real time.

The "gold medal" was given to "DOGGY," designed by Italian national Alessandro Spalletti; silver was awarded to a French student; and bronze to a Malaysian.

The event, hosted by ASPaC Association, Japan Foundation and Japan Package Design Association, and supported by The Asahi Shimbun, is part of the Asia Students Package Design Competition (ASPaC), among the biggest of its kind in the world.

The conventional competition drew more than 4,000 submissions, with both the number of entries and participating countries at record highs.

“Stop drunk driving,” designed by 20-year-old Chiharu Yamada, a sophomore at Osaka Seikei University, received the grand prize, the first time in five years it has been won by a Japanese.

The ASPaC Gold award was given to “Tenobe-Men” (hand-stretched noodle), by 22-year-old Kah Khee Soh of Singapore, and “Child Leaves,” by 19-year-old Yuri Horii, a sophomore at Tama Art University.