John Maeda

American (1966)

John Maeda is a graphic designer, visual artist, and computer scientist who works at the intersection of art, design, and technology. A native of Seattle, Maeda is the founding voice of Simplicity, a design-based program that encourages people to use technology to simplify rather than complicate their daily lives.

Maeda was originally a software engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when he became fascinated by the work of Paul Rand and Muriel Cooper, the directors of the university's Visual Language Program. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science at MIT, Maeda went on to earn a PhD in design from Tsukuba University Institute of Art and Design in Japan. There he began to experiment with ways to bridge the gap between computational expression and traditional bookmaking. Those experiments grew into a series of publications called "Reactive Books," which are now recognized as classics in digital media design.

Maeda assumed the position of president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2008.


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