Interview with Teong Yan Ni

Winner of Jewelry Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Teong Yan Ni shares insights


Interview with Teong Yan Ni at Monday 24th of June 2019:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
YT : I graduated in Pearls and Jewelry Design in 2015 from Gemological Institute of America and Jewelry Manufacturing Art in 2016 locally.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
YT : I started with hobby taking up pearl beading class 7 years ago. I eventually felt in love in pearl at first and I have this dream to become a designer. I always see myself can be more fulfilled other than working in a corporate world. So I left my job.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
YT : I chose to become a designer.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
YT : I mainly inspired by nature, phenomenon and their surroundings. I wish to design more big and versatile pieces with color-stones in relate to nature.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
YT : For young designers, remember your dream, work hard with your whole heart on it and never give up.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
YT : Good designer is doing what a designer should do, great designer performs extra-ordinary design, design that touches people, dare to take the challenge and try new things.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
YT : The way I evaluate good design is there is no right or wrong in design. Is all about design elements.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
YT : Good design creates emotions and has its story behind every creation that worth investing.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
YT : I would love to create bracelet cuff for Oprah Winfrey if I had the time. Because she is such a wonderful, generous and big heart woman. I shall design an incredible bracelet cuff for her just like Wonder Woman.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
YT : I have couple of drawings but one very prominent would be a necklace full of rubies and pearls that I would like to realize. That drawing originally not that elaborate, because that night I can't sleep, so I drew, when I started I can't stop. I was still at school back then, I played with geometrical shapes and visualizing butterflies wing shapes and many more butterflies came together.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
YT : The secret ingredient for success in design is have your own space and time. Explore your imaginary and take a moment to breath.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
YT : I inspired by Wallace Chan, Jimmy Choo and Zang Toi as my design masters and legends.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
YT : I amazed by Wallace Chan, intricate, delicate and precision of designing. His collection make me feel so livelier and beautiful at all angles.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
YT : My greatest design will be Blue Daisy. The concept, flexibility, interchangeable and femininity. It has 8 different ways of wearing and I make wearer feel fresh and new whenever they interchange the parts.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
YT : To be a better designer, keep exploring, drawing, sketching and modifying. Also, practice mental strength, an area that we could not neglect. Because we need to deal with many things and sometimes things do not happen the way we wanted. Therefore, hang on there and stay positive.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
YT : If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done? This question is something I never think before because ever since I ventured in this field. I never look back.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
YT : Design is about emotional art of expression. It is so unique, unable to duplicate the moments, thus idea is very natural and origin, no right or wrong in designing, is all about design elements.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
YT : My greatest supported is my spouse, he supports me unconditionally.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
YT : To be a great designer, dare to dream, never stop being curious, keep practicing and believing in yourself.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
YT : Before becoming design master, I always face self-doubt, lack of confidence, lack of knowledge of jewelry manufacturing, juggle between doing business and designing, dealing with expectation but over time if you never give up, you will sort these out.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
YT : One of the challenges for designer is how to present their work? I would say we need a lot of communication, at this digital age, social media is fine but also to participate in competition. Make use of the platform provided and pay attention on details.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
YT : My next project will be a collection with Amethyst and Pearls.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
YT : My ultimate goal is to become internationally recognize designer and let people have my design as part of their lives.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
YT : People expect esteemed designer to produce new design every now and then. Update and communicate regularly. And I think the market would love something more personalize and affordable.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
YT : Design creates better society by creating more stylish way of living be in work or personal. Expressing yourself through jewelry make you feels good.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
YT : My next project will be a collection with Amethyst and Pearls.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
YT : Other than Blue Daisy, I have another collection called Hot Spring. Because that piece is very much emotional attached. As I like to go hotspring, one day, wind was strong, small yellow flowers dropped from trees on the hotspring water. That moment my idea was triggered.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
YT : In coming years, I would love to see more people recognize and value the work of designer.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
YT : Design field is evolving to computer aided and Virtual Reality, however, I still think original design is the best, from your own idea and traditional way creates more emotion and personal touch. It will be heading towards statement designs, like personalize jewelries or something.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
YT : Normally it takes 1 - 3 months to finalize a design project.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
YT : When I start a new design project, I normally start from inspiration, idea, research to sketches to mood board.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
YT : As a designer my motto is "Jewelry is an expression of art"

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
YT : Design can set trends depends on the designer and their PR or Marketing campaign. And Trends can set design too because marketer also need to depend on the market needs. Can be happened both.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
YT : The role of technology plays importantly just like 3D computer design will help your visualization and realization especially for printing and casting certain precision design, also improve speed and reduce human error.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
YT : In my design work, I am using number of drawing and coloring tools, sketch book, clay and paper.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
YT : Color, materials and ambient of designs are inter-related and play an important role to each other. For example, what type of combination of colors create more harmonious ambient? When sort of material will be practical and able to support the design?

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
YT : I wish people like to ask more about my design inspiration, how do you come out with that design idea?

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
YT : When I see new great design, it inspires me and to figure out their details of their design. Sometimes, I even feel like wanting to meet the designer.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
YT : Yes, 3D computer designer will be my ideal partner.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
YT : I do interact with people and most influence my design will be my circle of friends, as they give honest feedback.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
YT : I like mostly visual like coloring book, ancient jewelry book and history book.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
YT : To develop further skill, we need to keep practicing and do some trial and error. Never be afraid to try, and face failure if it didn't turn out as good as you expected.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
YT : If I have the opportunity irrelative of time and space I would like to meet and talk to Oprah Winfrey, Ferruccio Ferragamo, Wallace Chan, Jimmy Choo, Cally Kwong and Zang Toi.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
YT : This is my first time of getting an award, I think we have to keep participating because this is how you push yourself to do better. Hopefully with better platform designer can contribute more to the industry. It is hard to be famous because designer need to find a right platform to ride on. But I think it is even harder to be famous if you sit at your comfort zone.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
YT : I like places such as Swiss Alps, Salzburg North Terrace (Sound of Music), Loch Ness Lake, Waitomo Glowworm Caves. For food I love my traditional food, Chinese food from my home town Ipoh.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
YT : When I was explaining my design, I paused and brought my clay out. I started rolling the clay to make tube at first and my client look at me weirdly.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
YT : It makes my day when some one really appreciate and value my effort and my design. I motivate myself by reminding myself of my dream. And the journey is long, it takes one step at a time.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
YT : When I was a child I never thought I would become jewelry designer, but I love craft works for example collecting sea shells and made into some forms, sewing and stitching, coloring and drawing. And art was my favorite because to me without me realizing that was the easiest subject to score high.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
YT : In thousand years from now, we probably will be the next living thing in Mars with non-polluted and non-diseased environment. Living together with non-human cultures. Travel around the universe and visiting planets by space ships.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
YT : I will work harder and wish to contribute more to the industry. Please like my social media page if you wish to follow me for future exciting updates.