Rich grew up in Yorktown Heights, New York. After graduating from Parsons in New York City, he moved to San Francisco against his father's wishes. He worked in one-year increments as an art director for Rolling Stone magazine, Bozell & Jacobs, McCann-Erickson, Foote, Cone & Belding and Ogilvy & Mather, where he met Jeff Goodby and finally settled down.
At Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Rich's taste and enthusiasm infuse everything he does. He has set a standard of design that has led the agency to compete against the country's leading design studios. His advertising has won every award in the book, from Gold Pencils to Gold Lions, and, along with his partner Jeff, he's been named Executive of the Decade by Adweek. In 2002, he was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and, two years later, into The One Club Creative Hall of Fame.
The agency now has over 700 employees serving a diverse group of clients, including Google, Chevrolet, YouTube, got milk?, NBA, Cisco, and Motorola, to name a few.
Rich is equally passionate about projects away from work, from creating his own art to visually blogging for the Huffington Post. He currently sits on the board of Specialized Bicycles and is an adviser to avant-garde stage director Robert Wilson and his Watermill Library. He served for fifteen years on the board of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and just recently he designed a graphic system celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday.
Rich lives in Belvedere, California, with his wife, Carla Emil. He has two grown kids, Aaron and Simone, and is a proud grandfather to Maple, Will, and Owen.
He considers himself to be extremely lucky to be able to ride his bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to work each morning.
New School Alumni Association: What is the first thing you remember about Parsons?
Rich Silverstein: It was an extremely intimidating experience coming
from clean, quiet, white, suburban, Westchester
in my madras shirt and chinos, into a dirty, noisy,
art factory with very strange people running around.
NSAA: Who are the people at Parsons who had the most significant impact on you? Why?
RS: Nick Chaparos, my graphic design teacher
taught us not only that "God was in the details" but that he
also lived at the Bauhaus.
I can still see him ripping up a student's project
because it wasn't set in Helvetica and worse,
had smudges on the back.
NSAA: What would you like to see Parsons and New School students take away from their education?
RS: Appreciation of the past, enthusiasm for the future.
NSAA: Which of your campaigns would you recommend that Parsons graphic designers study? Why?
RS: Don't study my work. Walk around the city,
go to an independent movie, read the New York Times,
spend time at MoMA, the Armory, Central Park,
and do your own thing.
You're living in the most amazing city on planet Earth,
take advantage of it.
NSAA: What else should we know about how your Parsons education influenced your career in advertising?
RS: Graphic design helped me carve out my own
You'll probably not realize the true effect of
art school until a number of
I'm answering this question on the very same
drafting table used while attending Parsons in 1970,
including every X-Acto blade cut and blood stain.
Good luck and have fun.