We knew, when we met with Claudia in midtown Manhattan, that she would bring HRDCVR to life.
We wanted someone to listen to our every wild idea, someone who pushed back, and someone who had her own ideas. We wanted someone who gets the HRDCVR mission. We wanted someone brilliant and creative—and recommended by some of the most amazing and talented people we know.
As she discusses in this chat with me, Claudia grew up in Brazil, and moved to the United States when she was 18. After graduating from NYC’s School of Visual Arts, Claudia worked for nearly 10 years as a designer and art director in New York, moving to San Francisco in 2013 to serve as Design Director at WIRED. We’re thrilled she’s on board. Her spirit is everything. —Danyel Smith, cofounder, HRDCVR
Why HRDCVR? HRDCVR is a dream project! As editors (yes, art directors are editors too!) and as storytellers we look at the world with a different set of eyes—everything is an opportunity, a story waiting to be told…HRDCVR celebrates amazing content that is around us, and brings it to life. It’s for everyone and anyone.
Describe your style. Well, I don’t believe in having a style. I think of style as something you look back on…after 30 years…I believe in having a design philosophy…approaching each project with a fresh set of eyes and as a one-of-a-kind piece. I look into the content, and what I call the VOICE. I look for visual ways to develop this Voice. Everything must relate, and speak in similar tones—or disturb it—for a specific reason. My work relies heavily on typography and its nuances to tell these stories. I think of design very much like music—layering different textures that complement or challenge each other. In my eyes, design should be appropriate, be unapologetic, smart, beautiful and optimistic.
What does it mean to be a creative—in 2014? This is not a 9-5. Being creative is not a job, or a career, it’s a lifestyle. You look at the world and see colors, textures, unexpected combinations that create something beautiful. I’m very inspired by food and fashion, and those are things I experience when I’m away from the computer, out and about in life.
What was your first design work? My first professional design work was a layout I did for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, when I was a freelance junior designer working for Janet Froelich, just starting off. It was a page that looked back on the history of the short jacket, it was called “A Short Story,” and it’s still one of the favorite pages I have ever designed.
How does design influence? Can it influence? Can it push change? Design is everything and everything is design. We make design decisions every day. We design our lives, we design our look and we design our careers. What should I look like today? What should my house look like? What should I do with my life? That’s the power of design. On a practical level, graphic designers like myself—and product, interior and fashion designers—we’re solving everyday problems by making the world more functional, more beautiful and easier to navigate. Design informs, inspires, challenges, provokes and makes us think. If you ask me, all of those things improve our lives and push us forward as a society.
What is it about type, letters, and lettering that appeals to you so much? My father died when I was very young. After his things had been packed we still had a variety of random personal items of his that my mother kept. All of those everyday objects were treasures to me. All of them were typographical. He had a stapler with one of those old school labels on it (apparently he was huge at labeling all his office stuff), his notebooks and blackbooks with his amazing handwriting, his Rolleiflex camera, all of those things told me about someone I couldn’t remember, and through them I discovered a lot of things about my father. Type for me is a way to connect, is a way to express feelings and ideas in a more powerful way.
What do you love most about teaching? I love sharing my love for design, and helping young and upcoming designers find their own voice, discover their own set of tools to express their ideas and how they view the world, how they solve creative problems. I am a huge believer in a personal point of view, and one’s own way of doing something. I encourage it and I’m inspired by it. When I teach, I learn. Because of it, I think I’ve become better at collaborating with others, interacting with co-workers, leading a team, and presenting to clients. I haven’t taught since moving to California and it’s left a huge hole in my life. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing other people succeed and grow.
Do you miss Brasil? What is the design scene like there? I miss Brasil every day. I love my life here, but I miss my country, the food, the people, the environment, even the bad stuff, the corrupt government and the frustrating news cycle. All of that makes Brasil the place that it is. All of the struggle, the anger, the Brazilian’s never ending love and belief that Brasil can be better. Passion for everything—soccer, music, summer. All of these amazing things are creative fuel, and as a result the design scene in Brasil is rich and growing. There are great designers and illustrators in Brasil that definitely have an international influence to their work, but with a strong Brazilian flavor, a lot of joy. Brazilian design is full of risk taking.
You’re currently living on both coasts. What do you love about California? And New York? Both are exciting and inspiring places. They both offer an incredible mix of diversity, which is the best way to get inspired. People from everywhere, raised in different ways, with different values, all coming together. That’s the best way to learn and to be exposed to new ideas. The physical landscape of both places is amazing and promotes different and amazing experiences. I also have to add Seattle to my list. I think you’ll find me there more and more as well.
Describe the perfect situation for doing your work? An unlimited supply of Nespresso coffee, a bottle of smartwater, and working and collaborating with amazing people that inspire and challenge me.
What are your highest hopes for the look and feel of HRDCVR? I want it to feel incredibly elevated but incredibly human, a mix of old and new, an incredible journey of textures. I want the reader to feel all the joy and love all of us put into it, and as they read it, to feel how special this project is.
[look of the day]
ed. note: this is an exciting day for our HRDCVR.