Matteo Giuseppe, designer

Originally from Sardinia, Italy, Matteo Giuseppe is now living in New York, working at world-renowned design studio Sagmeister&Walsh.

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"I left my job at RGA, my flat, my girlfriend and I left for to New York with the money of my first salary in my pocket without knowing anyone. I remember arriving there, it was snowing, I didn't have an American phone number and I had to find a place to live in the next three days.”

What do you consider your nationality/ies to be?

SardItalian

Have you ever considered yourself a Foreigner?

Always, especially outside the island I came from, Sardinia. Since I left it I have been considering myself a traveler hoping to go back one day.

Can you tell us about your story as a Foreigner?

I left for London just over three years ago to study at London College of Communication (LCC) and to get a Master Degree in Branding Design. I left for London because I wanted an international experience, to know more people, improve my English and open my mind as a person and as a designer. I wasn’t satisfied in Italy and I felt that it was hard to get the right opportunities you had to come from the right university and be hired by a tutor. I did not like that, so I was up for a change. Both the English universities and the English society judge you on what you do rather than who you know.

My year at LCC was fantastic, I had so many opportunities that I felt overwhelmed. I got to know people from It’s Nice That, Pentagram, Landor and Oliviero Toscani. London, compared to New York, is more about culture than business and that for me is a good thing.

I started at design agency RGA but when I received an email from Jessica Walsh, from Sagmeister&Walsh studio, saying that they wanted to meet me in New York for a potential job offer with an immediate start, I didn't think twice. I left my job at RGA, my flat, my girlfriend and I left for to New York with the money of my first salary in my pocket without knowing anyone. I remember arriving there, it was snowing, I didn't have an American phone number and I had to find a place to live in the next three days. My first day in the office was incredible, there is very little hierarchy at Sagmeister&Walsh and everyone have a lot of responsibilities and are expected to do their best. One of my projects was a double cover for the NY Times, it was such a great opportunity for me.

Do you think your experience as a Visual Designer would have been the same if you stayed in your country of origin?

Absolutely not. The cultural mix has helped me a lot to shape my style and my ideas. I still feel very connected to my origins and I think that part of that also emerges from my work. When I went to see the National Gallery and I saw some of the beautiful paintings from the Italian Renaissance, I felt I was looking at them from a different perspective, the point of view of an Italian in England.

How do your origins inspire your work?

When It comes to colours and shapes, Sardinian culture gave me a lot of inspiration. The bright tones of my island are a part of me and I always try to use them in my work. The masters of the Italian Renaissance also inspire my illustrative style.

What about the local influence?

I find that both in London and New York graphic design is given much more space and consideration and this lead to a greater sensibility for the principles of design and for typography, which I really appreciate.

How is your work usually received by local people?

Wonder and confusion [laughs].

What message would you want to share with American people who don’t know your work yet?

Visit my website www.mattegiuseppepani and draw your own conclusions.

Anything you would like them to know about your country of origin?

Sardinia is a rich and interesting land, vibrant and full of culture. We have more than just beautiful weather and amazing beaches.

What are your plans for the future?

II would like to try my hand at creating art, to express my ideas more independently.

Where is home?

Despite my travels, home is and always will be Sardinia.

What words/ideas do you associate with ‘Foreigner’?

Melancholy.