SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF DESIGN
TEAM DETROIT I THE PARK
Michele Silvestri is the design evangelist and visual language guardian at WPP’s Team Detroit, a fully integrated, 1,100-person, communications agency. Her role is to cultivate strategic design thinking for all of their clients’ brands, including Ford, where her duties take on a global scale, collaborating with
partner offices in Shanghai, London, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Toronto. Under her leadership, Ford established its first ever Global Look + Style, aligning a visual framework for all communications worldwide.
Not an easy feat. Silvestri’s endless enthusiasm, keen intuition, and left and right brain sensibilities make her a trusted business advisor. She has led design thinking at JWT, FCB, Bozell, and Perich for a variety of automotive and non-Automotive Brands, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Michigan School of Art + Design. Silvestri has been recognized by the EFFIEs, CA, AIGA, GDUSA, TDC, DDF, The D Show and the Urban Green Council,
and served on the AIGA Detroit Executive Board. She remains active in the design community as a mentor, advisor and lecturer. She is also an avid runner, who loves wine, cheese and travel, and has earned a Black Belt. Her proudest accomplishment? Motherhood to the coolest little boy on the planet.
Where were you born and where do you live now? How does that affect your design sensibility?
Proud to be Detroit born-and-raised. Growing up in the Midwest fostered a no-nonsense, down-to-earth work ethic, an appreciation for nature, and a foundation of creative inspiration from the automotive and music industries. My design sensibility reflects an authentic simplicity aligned with my roots, but with a global perspective fueled by my intense curiosity and love of travel.
Who would you say is the most influential graphic designer of the past 50 years? How have they influenced your design?
Just one? How about three? Jonathan Ive. Paul Rand. Milton Glaser. They, along with many others – Carson, FLW, McQueen, Charles and Ray Eames – have collectively taught me to think about how Design can positively affect human behavior, to embrace and respect nature, to trust my instincts, to take risks, that less can be more and more can be more.
What is your greatest strength and weakness as a designer or design manager?
Greatest strength? My ability to organize, guide and inspire from a mountain of chaos.
Greatest weakness? Forgetting that I “can do anything, but not everything.”
Right now? Greige (specifically, PMS 7531)
Sans? Gotham, Serif? Mrs. Eaves
Pinterest,Yelp, Starbucks, Nike+
Favorite TV Shows?
Game of Thrones, Modern Family,
The Creative Habit, Where the Sidewalk Ends,
Inspirability, Ad Hoc at Home
The Godfather, Wall-e, Shawshank, Love Actually, Pulp Fiction, Elf
Favorite Musicians or Bands?
Kid Rock, Beastie Boys, Zeppelin, Adele
Favorite Fine Artist?
Fast Company, Good, Popular Science, Ted, Thought Catalog
Talent You Wished You Possessed?
The ability to slow down time
Mantra or Saying You Live By?
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it