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Meet Christina Kwang of Koto in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Kwang.

Christina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. After high school, I attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena and graduated in Fall 2018 with a BFA in Graphic Design. I currently work for Koto, a branding studio located in Culver City.

Nowadays, when I’m not at work, you can catch me at a dog park with my corgi (@corgikuma) or sipping boba drinks in the 626.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been a journey with quite a few bumps and potholes along the way. Being raised by a single dad since a young age had its own struggles as he tried to make ends meet for my brother and I. Financially, we weren’t in the best position so I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to have been able to attend a private university.

Though I was accepted into the graphic design program at ArtCenter after somehow whipping up a portfolio from scratch within a month, I was very naive and had no foundational grasp on what design actually encompassed. I thought I knew, but oh was I wrong. My knowledge of graphic design was that it was basically text on image and I had no idea about the many branches that stem from it, like package design, motion, UI/UX, etc. The first 2.5 years of college can be summed up like me trying to learn Adobe programs and figuring out what area of graphic design I wanted to focus on, bouncing from print to motion to considering switching my major to illustration. After going through hurdles of classes, desperately trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, I discovered my passion for branding about a year before I graduated. My work can best be described as simple solutions with a bit of quirk and fun.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a junior designer on the Koto team, working with large clients to bring their brand vision to life. It has only been a couple of months since I started, but what sets us apart is definitely our relentless hustle and willingness to have fun in the process. Oh and of course our amazingly talented team of designers.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up in such an Asian-dominant community meant that academics came before anything else. I constantly felt the peer and parental pressure to focus on my studies and get straight A’s to become successful. However, I was more interested in online games, anime, and painting. In person, I was quiet and shy, but online I had fun playing MMORPGs like Runescape, Maplestory, FlyFF, among others. In high school, I noticed my peers around me taking a number of AP classes and attending SAT prep class. I, on the other hand, simply stopped caring about boosting my GPA and focused on what I enjoyed doing. It was a time of sheer panic when the future was unclear as I hoped for the best when college applications came around. I’m glad everything turned out A-OK.

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