Follow @DanielTingChong on Instagram
When we heard the news that one of our favourite graphic designer and illustrator’s Daniel Ting Chong was taking a trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo we knew it was the perfect time to have him be a part of the Nifty Weekend Takeover. He has worked with brands with RVCA, 2Bop and Unknown Union and his illustration work has been featured in publications like New York Times, Men’s Health New York and 5280 in Denver.
We love his simple and clean aesthetic, with sneaker shots, beautiful graphics and the everyday moments in dispersed on his timeline. His 2,500 followers agree.
We caught up with him to find out who he loves to follow on Instagram, his most treasured possessions and to see what / where he recommends after his recent trip, and spots he is still dying to visit!
Game station is a building dedicated to arcade games. This one was in Akihabara, the electronic district in Tokyo.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a graphic designer and illustrator, born and bred in Cape Town
2. You’re an illustrator and designer, tell us a little bit about more about you, your work, when and why you started?
I have always been drawn towards creativity in some form or manner. When I was younger, I used to sketch a lot, however it was only in High School when design became
more tangible for me. My design teacher posed a question to the class to produce a product that could be viable to sell commercially. I teamed up with a sound designer and a 3D designer to produce a digital magazine called ‘I Eat Soup’. I Eat Soup, was a platform for young creatives (7-18 years) to showcase their work. Being in High School, we were not technically trained in the software to produce the magazine but that was the best part, the exploring and self-taught method is so much fun. We managed to sell the magazine at Bread & Butter which was a small creative boutique store in Cavendish (Cape Town) and The Zone (Johannesburg).
Our first volume sold over 300 copies and we couldn’t believe this being High School students, and especially that people would be interested in buying a digital magazine that we made in our bedrooms. The magazine was created in Adobe Flash which is pretty much obsolete now, but at the time it seemed relevant & suitable for our project as we could incorporate interactive elements & sound within the magazine. It was from this self-motivated project that I decided to dedicate my life to the creative industry. Whilst in matric & my tertiary studies, I worked for a few YDE (Young Designers Emporium) clothing brands, doing print collateral for their ranges. After studying I worked at a small design studio in Cape Town called ‘The President’. I worked with an amazing creative director, Peet Pienaar, who taught me so much about print design, and ways to redefine mundane design communication. After The President I decided to go into freelance and currently I’m still freelancing at a studio space in Woodstock where I work on some big brands and developing small to medium size business. On the illustration side, some editorial work for some great publications like New York Times, Men’s Health New York and 5280 in Denver. I’ve been doing a few brand collaborations lately with RVCA and some local guys like 2Bop and Unknown Union.
3. Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram?
Ah, there’s way too many awesome people to mention, but some of my favourites are @gemma_anne_ – who takes super well composed photos / @davidbuchler – a fellow South African now living in Tokyo / @hamadahideaki – a Japanese photographer who has a almost over exposed style to his photos / @every_hey – a design studio who posts an illustrated character everyday / @jean_jullien – super talented and witty illustrator
4. What is your favourite photo editing app?
I came across VSCO Film before VSCO Cam and it was a natural progression to use the mobile app as I found their film emulation for Lightroom intuitive and outstanding.
Golden Pavilion / Rokuon-Ji Temple
5. What is your most treasured possession?
It is definitely a fight between my essentials, which are my Mac, iPhone and sneaker collection. Haha. If I really had to chose one, it has to be my Mac as it is my bread and butter and helps me make a living.
6. You recently took a trip to Asia. Where are some of your favourite spots that you discovered in Tokyo and Hong Kong? Are there few spots you’re still dying to visit?
Hong Kong is beautifully dense, full of buildings but amongst that, there is constructed greenery, so it doesn’t feel too industrial. Places to check out in Hong Kong is Juice, which is a great streetwear store and a very touristy spot is the Peak Tram where you get to see an entire view of Hong Kong. Tokyo, I could write forever, but my two favourite spots is the Harajuku area, tons of specialised stores amongst some cosplay and very interesting people. The other is Shinjukugyoen National Garden, it is super beautiful with different types of designated gardens.
Yeah definitely, I would go back to Japan in a heartbeat and visit Okinawa and Hokkaido.
Building in Tsim Sha Tsui near the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong
Hong Kong adventures
7. Number one thing you miss most about Tokyo and Hong Kong?
Hong Kong, definitely the bubble tea and dim sum. Tokyo, the sushi and matcha desserts.
8. What was your greatest extravagance / big splurge when you went over? Was it food / shopping?
I bought a couple of sneakers and some clothing from brands I knew I would never be able to get again, but for me the cultural experience was synonymous from what I thought was most impactful about the trip. The sushi is Japan is out of this world and here in South Africa we obviously have a more westernised approach, which is nice but having sushi the traditional way and things that the sushi chefs consider like the way the rice is cooked and the temperature of the fish makes all the difference.
Itamae – processing fatty tuna for sushi
9. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Haha…is there such a thing?
10. Last but not least, macarons or cupcakes? Sprinkles or chocolate chips? Tea or coffee?
Macaroons. Chocolate chips. Coffee!
Would go back in a heartbeat