391 - Kimmy Bartle Koh
Kimmy Bartle Koh is a multidisciplinary designer and writer based in Los Angeles, California.
By day, she is a visual designer at CHANI, an astrology app centered around self-discovery, mindfulness, and healing.
After hours, she writes young adult novels about art school kids, and witches, and interracial romance. She’s also converging her experience in digital design and storytelling by developing an otome video game with her creative partner-in-crime. You can sign up to be a beta tester here.
Inside Kimmy's Workspace
- Macbook Pro (16” M1 Pro)
- Twelve South Laptop Stand
- Dell Flat Panel Monitor
- Branch Monitor Arm
- Apple Magic Keyboard
- Apple Magic Trackpad
- Logitech Lift Wireless Mouse in Pink (I rotate between this one and the trackpad to avoid getting the hand cramps that accompanied me all through grad school)
- Mokin USB C Hub HDMI Adapter
- Apple AirPods (2nd Gen)
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
- Pantone Books (Coated and Uncoated)
- Papier Bullet Journal
- Alexa Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
- I tend to have 2-3 different drinks on my desk, usually this matcha
- Branch Standing Desk
- Branch Desk Mat
- Branch In-Desk Power Outlet
- Branch Ergonomic Chair + Headrest
- Branch Filing Cabinet
- Cable Management Box
Serotonin Boost / Decor:
- Hija de tu Madre La Jefa Desk Plate
- Ban.do Orange Juice Vase
- Ban.do Strawberry Vase
- Knitted flowers (crafted by street vendors from my hometown in Peru)
- Für Elise Music Box (I got this at The Getty – it used to have a paper cover with Vincent van Gogh's Irises, but it got torn after so many moves)
- Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Natural (for sporadic music breaks)
- Ohana Tk-10 Tenor Mahogany Ukulele (ditto)
- Make Your Voice Heard! Card Deck (for when I need a reminder)
- Wham-O 75th Anniversary Frisbee (designed by my husband, seeing it inspires me when I get stuck)
- Are.na to connect ideas and save visual references
- Notion for organizing everything
- Toggl for tracking time
- DocuSign for client contracts
- Figma + Adobe Suite for design
- FigJam + Miro for brainstorming and wireframing
- Scrivener for writing and world-building
- Visual Studio Code for coding and debugging
- Unity for game dev
What is the most useful item in your workspace?
The trick answer is my filing cabinet. It holds different types of journals (dotted, lined, plain), snacks, scrunchies, stickers, sensory toys… It’s the Claudia Kishi of drawers. My very own Narnia, if you will. I need it, it’s there. I’ve organized it with all the drawer configurations I love from The Container Store. It takes me back to having a locker in school. Whenever my eyes burn from too much coding, I fish in there for a treat. The second drawer has my collection of beads. I sometimes take a friendship-bracelet-making break. Or grab the little bottle of bubbles I kept from my wedding.
How do you spark creativity?
I usually listen to oddly specific Spotify playlists (POV: you’re at a middle school dance in 2015) or themed Pomodoro ASMR to get into the zone. My favorite is the Ravenclaw Common Room one. From there, I’ll fall down the rabbit hole of research, save visuals and thoughts on are.na, and start drawing up ideas on Figma. The process of it all takes me where I need to go.
What does your typical day look like?
I rise with the sun. It hits my face pretty early, around 6-7 am, to have ample time to lean into the day, stretch, and do self-care before diving into work. I take a sip of the water bottle I leave beside my bed while I peek at my astrology transits or catch up on the book I probably fell asleep reading. Then, I grab breakfast and do my skincare routine. SPF is important because I work next to an east-facing window, i.e., bright sun in the am.
When it's cold out, I take turns between my desk and the oh-so-comfy couch. When it’s hot out, it’s a dance between my desk and working by the pool. If my husband’s WFH that day, we’ll have lunch together. If not, I'll call one of my friends abroad for some lowkey digital co-working and catching up (XOXO, Chisme Girl).
WFH means you must take extra steps to separate yourself from your work, so I try to mark the transition. I’ll change my clothes into something more comfy, take a bath, or spend time with my partner, who also happens to be a designer. Since we met in art school, we have held each other accountable for keeping a work-life balance for ages. Our secret code for “That’s enough, take a break!” is “Do you want to get some boba?” There is nothing like a taro milk tea (with almond milk and extra boba) to lure me away from the screen.