In conversation: DANIEL TING CHONG


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Creative Director and Graphic Designer Daniel Ting Chong is no stranger to the language of successful branding, working with the likes of Nike, Puma and The New York Times. The creative mind behind the FIELDS visual identity talks about the importance of research in his work and his clothing choices.
  1. What stood out for you about FIELDS, when first asked to work on the brand? 
I was so honoured to work on the name development as well as the identity system for FIELDS. When Kelly Fung reached out to me and put me in touch with Mikael Hanan, I had to say yes. I love working with people who have dreams and who are passionate about entrepreneurship but the one thing that I resonated with was that FIELDS wasn’t trying to emulate other men’s labels. FIELDS has specific core values and has a wonderful ethical approach to production that I wanted to be part of.
 
  1. What was your starting point ?

Research is always a key building block for any identity system. I met up with Mikael and learnt more about his story and how he got to this point. A lot of the conversation helps me distill what brands want to achieve and wants to be. For this project, I was required to develop a name and sometimes the name development is the most pivotal part of a brand development. After meeting with Mikael, I went away to conceptualise and presented a few names but FIELDS ended up as the winner.

 

  1. What is important for you when creating an identity for a brand and specifically, for a fashion brand? 
The values of the brand and person creating it are important to me. I don't take on projects if the values of the product or business aren’t aligned with something that I believe adds value to the world. Especially when it comes to fashion — we now know that the fashion industry contributes a huge proportion of waste into the world. I felt FIELDS was earnestly mindful of its production, specifically the sourcing of materials throughout Southern Africa was a great core value of the brand. 

  1. What is your typical creative process? 
Specifically for brand identities, I always have a conversation with the client and love to hear their background, how they decided to start their business and what they want to achieve with it, from there it's how we communicate the brand story in a beautiful and cerebral manner. I then spend a few weeks doing more research and once I land a concept, I’ll start to sketch, either on computer or sketchbook. I sometimes start with typography, or sometimes I jump straight in with the brandmark, it differs from project to project.
 
  1. Is there a part that you particularly enjoy when working on a creative brief? 

Not particularly, but if I had to choose, it would be the research phase as that for me is the most critical part and is often a large proportion of the visual decision making. You can be a skilled designer and do on-trend stuff, but if your thinking isn’t solidified, the brand you’re building isn’t really sustainable. Decorative items or fluffy aesthetics eventually fade out with the trends.

 

  1. What are the parallels of fashion and functionality for you?  

I love a piece that has utilitarian qualities, especially a jacket with multiple inside pockets for different objects but also the material functionality too. It is one of the most rewarding features when you realise the designer has thoroughly thought about the piece and how someone should use it or could use it and still look beautiful too. I don't think they should always be in parallel as sometimes putting on a beautiful tee with a specific print, may have a lot of nuance or history to it that overshadows functionality. 

  1. What is important for you when you are investing in a piece of clothing?

The material composition definitely. I’ve been mindful over the last few years of not purchasing items that would only last a year or two versus spending a bit more money on pieces that would last longer and produced ethically down all the production chains from material sourcing to fair wages. Most releases these days have a story or history behind them and often I'll look into the campaign to see why it actually exists and if it has a meaningful story, I connect better with the brand and the collection itself which adds value to the pieces I'm investing in.

  1. What is your favourite piece in the current/ debut collection?  

Definitely, the natural 1kg Sweater which I’m very proud to say that I own. The weight is incredible, it honestly feels like someone is giving you soft hugs the entire day. It’s incredibly comfortable and warm being 90% Merino Wool. It’s a great piece to own for winter that you can throw over a t-shirt and you’ll be warm for the rest of the day.

 

  1. 2020 - the year of…? 

Rat! That’s my Chinese coming out in me. I’m not much of a horoscope reader or resolutions person but I do honour the Chinese Zodiacs
 
Denim or leather?
 
Denim
 
V-neck or Crew? 
 
Crew
 
Sunglasses or watch?
 
Sunglasses
 
Backpack or duffle?
 
Duffle
 
Winter or Summer? 
 
Winter
 
Maximalist or minimalist?
 
Minimalist
 
Monochrome or colour?
 
Monochrome
 
Podcast or Playlist? 
 
Playlist