ginny branch stellinginterviewswhat's in your toolbox

What’s in Your Toolbox: Kyle Hinton

by Ginny

If you ever find yourself visiting Savannah, Georgia, I must urge you to stop by the impeccably curated shop ARC. Here its owner, Kyle Hinton, former magazine editor in chief, infuses every nook and cranny of the space with his discerning eye. Oh, and he happens to design and produce his perfectly branded gentlemanly product line, Prospector Co. I fully endorse the Burroughs Beard Oil, a charming gift for the dad, brother or dude in your life. Kyle is the ultimate jack of all trades and Savannah’s most interesting renaissance man, so read on for a rad interview. — Ginny

1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox?

Kyle Hinton: I’m a chronic list taker, so I hold stationery in high regard. I have to have fresh, unwritten pages at all times for ideas, sketching or listing. I carry around multiple Field Notes Steno Pads for the day-to-days, and I really like the Japanese Mucu pads for special projects. Micron pens are a must. I use a basic ruler, cutting board and X-Acto knife on a daily basis, although I wish I could live without them.

2. Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel _____________.”

The full interview continues after the jump . . .

3. Design*Sponge: What is on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

Kyle Hinton: I’m most inspired by art books, and The Daily Practice of Painting from Gerhard Richter is something I find myself always returning to. It’s one of a few books that I keep by my bed. Along with a laptop for the blogs, Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and A Morning’s Work, a collection of medical photographs from the Burns Archive from 1843 to 1939.

4. Design*Sponge: How do you keep yourself organized? Do you have an agenda book, and do you make to-do lists?

Kyle Hinton: The list taking is key. Even with my iPhone, iPad and laptop around, which are made to organize and streamline, they don’t actually do the work, and if you never cross a line through a to-do, then it somehow seems like it hasn’t been done. Something about having a tangible list organized with all of the things I have to do helps to consolidate and maintain. Sometimes just doing something immediately is great, too.

5. Design*Sponge: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

Kyle Hinton: Invisibility. I think that you would discover a lot of truths about people, seeing them when they think no one is watching. Not to mention sneaking into bank vaults unnoticed, watching pretty ladies undress — superhero basics.

6. Design*Sponge: What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist/designer?

Kyle Hinton: The best advice I have received is to retain your individuality and focus on the things whose outcome makes you happy. These things are successful because happiness is the true measure of them. The best advice I can give is to look to the future for inspiration because the present goes by too quickly to develop an idea from, and the past is an ever-growing pool of inspiration for anyone to pull from. Finding a balance that suits your project is important.

7. Design*Sponge: How do you combat creative blocks?

Kyle Hinton: By watching bad TV, like anything on Bravo. Sometimes the best way to pull out of a block is to erase everything.

8. Design*Sponge: Where do you like to shop for inspiration?

Kyle Hinton: I like to dip into an art gallery in the mid-afternoon when no one else is there and start the weekends outdoors in the squares or the park. There’s not much for inspirational shopping here in Savannah, and galleries and museums are pretty slim, unfortunately. However, what Savannah lacks in shopping and art culture it makes up for in nature.

9. Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

Kyle Hinton: I would be less interested in an artist or artisan because there’s so much tied to their workshop for these types of creative people. The expected scenarios of paint-splattered floors or dirtied bibs would be the extent of the visuals. I think the most interesting presentation of their work is in a setting completely different from where or how it was made. Where and how they’ve chosen to present it. For me, a writer’s workplace is most interesting because everything is internalized, and they are relying so much on their own imagination and historical reference to complete a work. I imagine there would be great conversation that would exceed the stacked papers and overcrowded libraries surrounding them and their MacBook or vintage typewriter. Guy Murchie would be a great peek, though it would have to be when I was 10 years old, before he died. But that could make it even more interesting.

10. Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Kyle Hinton:

  • Lots and lots of Philip Glass
  • 90s hip hop (i.e., Skee-Lo, “I Wish”)
  • Alexander
  • Timber Timbre
  • Com Truise
  • Gardens & Villa
  • Alexandre Desplat
  • Future Islands

Suggested For You


  • when my husband and i visited savannah we came across this adorable shop and loved it! so fresh and unique. keep up the good work kyle! was great to hear more about it.

    {also: as a side note, i too am am a stationary lover/avid list taker but if you haven’t found or used the website and app TEUX DEUX i would highly recommend it, (designed by swiss miss lady) it actually crosses things off the list – a small but very important detail. give it a go}

  • Ooh…I may be heading to Savannah, Georgia this fall with a friend – will definitely put this on my list of must-sees!
    Thanks for the delightful interview. I’m feeling so inspired right now ;)

  • Such a beautiful place. Definitely visiting next time we are in Savannah.

    Have you ever lost one of your notebooks? I am constantly leaving/losing my notebooks/lists somewhere. I always wonder who ends up finding them. They have never been returned.

    Best of luck!

  • Great interview. Everything looks great. Just reading your comments. It’s like talking with your Mom. She is so bright and intelligent. I see so much of her in you. I see now why she is so proud of you. Keep up the good work.