John Maeda is a world-renowned graphic designer, educator, artist and computer scientist, who now adds the title of College President to his diverse credentials. On December 21, 2007, the Board of Trustees of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) announced that Dr. Maeda would become the 16th President of RISD.
John’s early work redefined the use of electronic media as a tool for expression by combining skilled computer programming with sensitivity to traditional artistic concerns. This work helped to develop the interactive motion graphics that are prevalent on the Internet today. He has championed the use of the computer for people of all ages and skills to create art, and is a pioneering voice for simplicity in the digital age. He also initiated the Design by Numbers project, a global initiative to teach computer programming to visual artists through a freely available, custom software system that he designed.
In 1999, John was included in Esquire magazine’s list of the 21 most important people for the 21st century, Fast Company’s 20 Masters of Design in 2004 and the I.D. Forty in 2005. He is the recipient of the highest career honors for design in the United States (1999 Chrysler Design Award; 2001 National Design Award), Japan (2002 Mainichi Design Prize), and Germany (2005 Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize), and his early work in digital media design is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Since 2001, John’s works of contemporary art have been exhibited in one-man shows in London, New York and Paris to wide acclaim. In 2006, he was awarded the Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award for his efforts in advancing undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
John received both his BS and MS degrees from MIT, and earned his PhD in design from Tsukuba University Institute of Art and Design in Japan. In May of 2003, he received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. At MIT since 1996, John held the E. Rudge and Nancy Allen Professorship of Media Arts and Sciences and was the Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Laboratory, where he was responsible for managing research relationships with over 70 industrial organizations. A practicing designer since 1990, he has developed advanced projects for an array of major corporations, including Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok and Samsung, among others.
John is the author of four books, including his 480-page retrospective MAEDA@MEDIA. His most recent book, The Laws of Simplicity, has been published in 14 languages and has become the reference work for discussions on the highly elusive theme of “simplicity” in the complex digital world.