Cleo discovered computers in 1978 when she used the time-share mainframe at Dartmouth College to plot 3-D forms which she then animated on an Apple II. This became her thesis project at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where she was an undergrad in Graphic Design. Her project was the first to involve computers at RISD. Her passion to understand how computers might be involved in design propelled her into a series of pioneering environments. In the summer of '79 she worked in Germany with Unternamensberatung Rubow Weber (URW), the first group to define letterforms with mathematical splines - what we now know as digital fonts. Following that, she did a two year stint teaching Graphic Design at the Maine College of Art before heading out to Silicon Valley in 1982 to pursue a Master's Degree in Digital Typography, an experimental degree created in 1981 at Stanford University's Computer Science Department with Chuck Bigelow and Donald Knuth.
Cleo took a summer job at Adobe Systems as a designer in 1983 to promote the capabilities of PostScript. During this time she created a typographic calendar, coding PostScript with a text editor, that won an award from the NY Type Director's Club. While still working on her Stanford degree, she joined Adobe full time as a member of the Typography group. There she designed the first Adobe Original typeface, a font of music notation called Sonata (1985). Cleo finished her master's thesis in 1988 with a 1100 character postscript font of Egyptian Hieroglyphs that continues to be used by scholars for their publications. Also during this time she took on consulting work at emerging companies in the Valley, working with Steve Jobs at NeXT and other technology pioneers at General Magic, Xerox Park and Apple.
In the early 90s Cleo and her partner, Hal started a digital design company RuckerHuggins producing work ranging from branding, advertising and packaging to user interface design. RuckerHuggins was the creator of the Painter paint can packaging which gained recognition for it's inventiveness. In the mid-nineties one of the RuckerHuggins clients, Apple Developer Group, led to a full time project for Cleo; she joined Apple's Online Services Group as the Human Interface Design Manager where she created eWorld - coining the name and creating the friendly village interface.
She left Silicon Valley in 1995 to work with Michael Wadleigh, director of the film Woodstock. Together they provided pro-bono services for numerous non-government organisations around the world - spending time in Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Sri Lanka, working on multimedia advocacy for land rights and other issues of relevance to pastoralists groups including the Rendille, Masai, Samburu, Turkana and the Pokot.
Cleo now works out of her 1714 New Hampshire farm house or off her two acre island Downeast Maine with her 32 year old parrot, boxer-lab mix, Ruby and her programming partner, Troy Payne, doing Web Development for CipherSpace, an international customised IT services provider. She also tries to maintain a number of interests that have nothing to do with computers - preferring a low tech life style; spinning wool, black-smithing, playing violin, brewing beer and wine, growing tomatoes, various construction projects, sewing clothes and her recent interest, the long-bow.