What led you into design?
Ultimately, technology is what drew me into design. The things that gravitated me towards it were Tamagotchis, game consoles, and other tech gadgets. I was always fascinated by the cute little interfaces on these devices. I'm hooked whenever I get my hands on anything tech-related, and I still am.
My obsession with actual design began when I was introduced to the internet. I saw a world of opportunities and started messing around with Photoshop, HTML, and CSS. Naturally, this led me to study how to design and make websites. I graduated with a degree in Communication and Multimedia Design and started my career at a small agency in Amsterdam, where my main focus was designing websites. I really enjoyed creating websites because it gave me so much creative freedom to make something fun and engaging.
What does a typical day look like?
8:00 AM: I get up, play with my cats, shower, and make coffee. I always start my day by catching up on Slack and social media.
9:30 AM: I take 30 minutes to go through references on Are.na. It's a great platform to discover unconventional work. I enjoy randomly archiving inspiration for current and future projects. Finding good references is how I like to work. There are so many great ideas floating on the internet; you just have to connect the dots to make something nice.
12:00 PM: I make ramen or go out to grab lunch.
5:30 PM: I wrap up my work and call it a day.
6:00 PM: I hit the gym for a strength workout. Working out really keeps me balanced. It’s a huge contrast to sitting in front of your computer all day, and it keeps me mentally and physically healthy.
7:30 PM: I come home from the gym. My partner and I have dinner and talk about our day. I usually cook something Asian that my parents used to make for me when I was younger.
8:15 PM: Some Netflix, HBO, or a movie.
11:00 PM: Time to go to bed. I set my alarm with Sleepcycle. It keeps track of my sleep quality and also wakes me up without me needing to snooze the alarm.
What's your workstation setup?
I prefer a simple setup that allows me to easily switch my work environment as needed. My setup is a 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro. I use an LG 27” 4K monitor and a Logitech MX Master mouse. Additionally, I rely on my BEOPLAY H95 and iPhone 12 Pro for audio and mobile design and communication. I recently bought a beautiful Egon Eiermann 2 desk for my home office. It's a very minimal but sleek desk, making the space more calm and clean.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Are.na is a great platform for inspiration. I enjoy collecting and combining different sources of inspiration to create something fun and unique. My process involves gathering references for a project and organizing them into specific categories using Figma. This helps me gain a better overview and generate ideas to kickstart my projects. Additionally, I draw inspiration from my friends who are also in the same industry. Their work is a constant source of motivation and inspiration for me.
When I am working on a project, I find inspiration everywhere. From everyday devices to websites. It can be literally anything as long as it connects with me in a way that I find relevant for the project. I will make a mental note or take a photo for later.
What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?
It's not really a product but everything from SUNNEI is done very nicely when it comes to creative direction and storytelling. They approach fashion in a unique and tech-oriented way. When you scroll through their Instagram feed, you can see the significant effort they put into using existing tech products or devices and merging them with their fashion items. It's really refreshing to see. You should also check out this fashion show. The element of surprise works online as well as offline.
What pieces of work are you most proud of?
My proudest work is Seen. I initiated this project at Bakken & Bæck two years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a lot of racism towards Asians, and I wanted to do something for the community. Fortunately, Bakken & Bæck allowed me to set up my own (all Asian) team to create this project. We developed our own version of activism.
Seen is a playful, interactive platform where you can read stories of Asians within the design industry. You can access these stories by clicking on 'Tamagotchi'-like devices. Each device represents a person's handheld phone, and as a user, you get to peek inside their lives. The interviews are all conducted internally.
What design challenges do you face at your company?
The challenge for me is to find clients who not only have interesting profiles or concepts but are also open to getting creative and trying out new interactive ideas. It's kind of like finding a perfect partner to work with, where you both bounce off each other's ideas and build something great together.
What music do you listen to whilst designing?
Any advice for ambitious designers?
Developing your referencing skills definitely enhances your creative process. Remember to maintain a comprehensive database of references in your mind. Have confidence in your work and refrain from taking negative feedback personally. Embrace collaboration and let go of your ego. Strive for excellent communication abilities, as they will prove invaluable in your career as a designer.
Anything you want to promote or plug?
Follow me on Instagram (@kalokyeungg) or Twitter (@kalokyeungg) to see what I am working on at the moment, or visit my website.
Lastly, follow my friend Yvet van der Naalt (@yvetvandernaalt) who shot my lovely portrait and my cats.