a designer, artist and entrepreneur – with a love of transforming visions into realities. These roles have led to the immeasurable wonders of my life. It is the allurement I encounter that allows me to focus on the soul of a project – the aspects that make it unique to every person – and communicate it through exquisite design.
A former New Yorker, I found my dreams took flight after moving to Rome in 2006. The beauty and culture of the Eternal City appealed to every sense – especially visual. With a mix of aging glory and modern chic, leisurely energy and impatient speed, village vibe and urban sophistication, Rome inspired me to build a design agency around the mix of my two cities. The result: Rome Design Agency.
My interest in graphic design began at 11 years old, when after school I would watch the staff graphic designer at my parents’ publishing company create masterpieces from nothing. With her standing at a table fitted with a sliding ruler across it, pasting strips of texts and images to boards, her work entranced me. A once senseless grouping of letters and symbols became a means to an important end: a magazine for mass distribution. This essential process – pulling together various elements and creating one cohesive communication – has always called to me. From then on, my love for design was unstoppable.
Meeting the Web
My design career truly started from humble beginnings when I managed an internet café circa 1996. At that moment, HTML was introduced to my life. Similar to the graphic designers I had spent countless hours watching, HTML had a way of creating beauty and wonder out of a jumble of letters, symbols and images. These jumbles led me to create my very own single page “blog” that I would overwrite and design on daily on this very domain – claudiapalmira.com.
With little beyond my just‐out-of-college credentials as an editor who knows HTML and graphic design, I created a class: “How To Surf the Web”. By chance – or far more likely – with a nudge from destiny, the owner of a mid-century modern furniture company happened to see my class flyer and hired me on the spot as his web and graphic designer.
The company’s enormous vintage design library along with a high tech studio gave me the means to marry technology with design and take communicating beauty in images and words into new dimensions – not to mention the start of a lifelong love of 20th century modern design.
My work soon got noticed by the owner of Totem Design, an incredibly progressive contemporary design company in Tribeca, New York City. Totem offered me the opportunity to create a brand, website and magazine “DSGN” that fused previously disparate elements into an opulent multimedia experience.
That year, House Beautiful magazine called me the “designer’s web designer.”
Here’s my top 5 of why i do what i do
1. I can’t help it. Design has been engraved into my identity since I was young. Crystallizing my clients’ visions through a combination of editorial, intuitive and strategic sensibilities is my passion.
2. I believe in my clients. I understand the importance of expanding my clients’ vision to it’s fullest potential. I combine all of my skills to create the best products possible because that’s what my clients deserve. Through editorial skills, innate tech geekiness and pure creativity, I enjoy transforming your vision into reality.
3. I make it work. One of my greatest inspirations is the designer Karim Rashid, with whom I had the chance to collaborate at Totem Design. His belief that “as it is with all the democratic things I design: make sure they work.” It’s not enough for design to be beautiful, it must also be smart and functional. Finding the combination of beauty and functionality keeps design alive.
4. I find the soul. I love to steer my clients beyond our digital age’s superabundance of readily-available ideas, presences and products to empower them to see the essence of their work and to realize their genuine vision.
5. I integrate. Design goes far beyond digital elements. As a multimedia curator, I love to render my clients’ creativity by combining all elements of life. Truly beautiful design comes from a mixture of the technological world and the personal one. Photoshop paintbrushes, the Italian language, acrylic paints, HTML, life experiences – every aspect plays a role in design.
My career as an independent designer has enabled me to work with some of the most visually-sophisticated clients in the world on exceptionally innovative and creative projects. I’ve designed book covers for Simon & Schuster; television sets for major networks like CBS and Comedy Central; collaborated with super creative teams at Jack Morton Worldwide for clients like Nokia and IBM; worked with Bulgari Hotels on their web development – and many others.
I’ve been fortunate to touch almost every genre of graphic design while collaborating with clients of every stripe.
At the end of the day, the people with whom I work best are those who love design and appreciate quality – whether you are in business for yourself or make design decisions within a larger company.
This Dolce Life
In 2006, I transferred my studio and life to Rome, Italy – a long-held dream of mine. Since moving here, my business has transformed in ways I could have never imagined. Living in Italy after working in New York City was a stark contrast – the high-intensity pressure was off, but I still had loads of energy and ambition.
When I first moved abroad, and my graphic design studio start-up was slow-going, I decided to revive a magazine title that had been part of my family’s publishing business: the Italian Journal. As its editor and art director, I helped re-establish the quarterly magazine and gave it a new face and web presence.
Meanwhile, my personal life flourished – I had met and married my love, the photographer Mauro Benedetti. A few years later, our son Ludovico entered our lives. Mauro’s passion and gift for photography inspired me to create Rome Photography Workshop, where clients can walk around Rome with experienced local photographers who teach them where and how to shoot the best of the Eternal City.
This year, I’ve realized a truly personal vision – that of creating a self-development retreat in Southern Italy. Restart Retreats is hosting its first ever getaway in September 2016 called “Awakening the Authentic Self” – designed to help you uncover your greatest vision.
New Yorker in Rome
I’m passionate about my work and my art – and both my cities, my native New York and my adopted Rome. I take the best of both and infuse my work with this blend: the visual beauty and craftsmanship of Italy with the innovation and speed of NYC.
While web design and graphic arts remain the centerpiece of my design studio, developing workshops and supporting others has become an exciting new aspect of my work.
Now, it’s your turn.