2 Minutes With … Zhong How, CD at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai

On elevating the work with visual craft

Zhong is a Malaysian creative based in Shanghai. He holds over a decade of experience in the industry and currently serves as creative director at Wieden+Kennedy, working on Nike. Previous tenures include TBWA/China, Young & Rubicam and Leo Burnett. 

We spent two minutes with Zhong to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Zhong, tell us ...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

You know that little country in Southeast Asia known for their exotic-thorny-stinky-yet-delicious fruit in between Thailand and Singapore? Yep, that one! I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I now live in Shanghai.

How you first realized you were creative.

Like most, I grew up with the influence of cartoons and comics. After every episode of Dragon Ball, I would take out my sketch pad and start drawing these anime characters that eventually evolved into my own world. Nothing groundbreaking or publish-worthy, but it was a hell of a lot of fun.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Stefan Sagmeister was that one creative genius who stood out. The things he created were bold, wild, experimental and a direct opposite of me in my earlier days as a graphic design student. His work was eye-opening and definitely had an impact on how I pushed my own work.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I nearly became an accounting student. Ha! I always knew I loved drawing, but my naive 17 year-old brain thought the only future for artists was to draw caricatures of people on the streets. But one day, my dad and uncle took me to a student council that introduced me to two life changing words, "graphic design." Thank heavens. Because I would have failed miserably as an accountant.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Hans Zimmer. His music takes me to different places.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I recently watched the making of Star Wars: A New Hope. The world building of this gem from 1977 was so ahead of its time.

Your favorite fictional character.

This will sound super cheesy, but Superman. He's the ideal of hope!

Someone or something worth following on social media.

For someone who is mostly stuck in the office, this channel on Youtube called @ColdFusion is my window to the outside world.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

Nike, "The Beijing 99" - a basketball tournament that ranked the best 99 players in Beijing. It was an art director's dream, creating 99 one-of-a-kind jerseys inspired by the kings of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

A recent project you're proud of. 

Nike, "Never Done Dreaming Big." We show how far a kid's big talk can go by deepfaking China's biggest athletes.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

Oh man, there are too many. One that I can think of right now is "Guinness Surfer." It's a great combination of artistic visuals, with great a voiceover and experimental music.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Not exactly a person, but the work coming out from Cekai Japan has been very interesting lately. From 3D OOH to Olympic pictograms. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

Elevating the work with visual craft.

Your biggest weakness.

Too many. Copywriting for starters. But I'm still learning.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Badminton. There's something about swinging around a racquet with quick reflexes that makes me feel like a Jedi.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Missing out. Yes I have FOMO.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

I would probably become a color grader. There's something soothing about using colors to create different feelings for photos and films. Photo retoucher would probably be my second pick. Therapeutic.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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