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John Maeda
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John Maeda is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. For more than a decade, he has worked to integrate technology, education and the arts into a 21st-century synthesis of creativity and innovation. Maeda became president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in June, 2008.

At RISD, Maeda seeks to champion the necessary role that artists and designers play in the 21st century creative economy. He sees the traditional, hand-crafted techniques that are fundamental to a RISD education as increasingly relevant in a overly-digital world, as people seek to reconnect with what is real and authentic. As President, he seeks to connect RISD to the political, economic, social, and business spheres where artists and designers will make a difference, and has prioritized fundraising for scholarships to ensure the broadest possible access to a RISD education.

Maeda'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 web today. As a digital artist, Maeda has exhibited in well-received one-man shows in London, New York and Paris. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartier Foundation in Paris. He is a trustee of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and has designed advanced projects for major corporations such as Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok and Samsung, among others.

In 2008 Maeda was named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine. In 2001 he earned the National Design Award in the US; in 2002, the Mainichi Design Prize in Japan; and in 2005, the Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize in Germany.

A former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maeda taught media arts and sciences there for 12 years and served as associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab. He has published four books, his most recent, The Laws of Simplicity, has been translated into 14 languages. Maeda has lectured widely, including at Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, the Royal College of Art, Stanford and UCLA; at the Centre Pompidou, TED conferences and Walker Art Center; and for corporations such as Herman Miller, Sony, Steelcase, Toshiba and Yahoo!.

A native of Seattle, Maeda earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, followed by a PhD in Design Science from the University of Tsukuba Institute of Art and Design in Japan and an MBA from Arizona State University.

Blog Entries by John Maeda

STEM to STEAM: Art Is Key to Building a Strong Economy

(106) Comments | Posted November 13, 2012 | 1:44 PM

We recently had the pleasure of collaborating in Richard Saul Wurman's new improvisational conference WWW, which came to life for the first, and perhaps only, time in September. One of many powerful moments of conversation was when Will.i.am took the stage to talk about the importance of getting...

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Spray Glue vs. Elmer's Glue: Leading with Diverse Materials

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 10:00 AM

At the recent TED Global conference in Edinburgh, I gave a talk framing some of my thoughts on the overlaps between technology, design, art and leadership, informed by my experiences as a designer and president of the Rhode Island School of Design. At the end of the talk,...

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An Order of Magic, With a Croissant on the Side

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 7:54 PM

Do you know Tina Roth Eisenberg in Brooklyn? If you don't yet, you soon will.

Also known as @swissmiss on Twitter, Tina has amassed a huge following for her engaging tweets on art, design and life. Tina is also the founder of CreativeMornings. She has grown what started...

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Jobs Added Art to STEM to Create Steam

(9) Comments | Posted October 6, 2011 | 12:22 PM

I'm one of many nerds who started programming with an Apple II. I bought the first Mac in 1984, right before I got on a plane to go to MIT. When I got there, I saw all the upperclassmen had PCs -- the "macho computer" -- and thought I was...

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Art and the He(art)

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 8:13 PM

While I was waiting in line for lunch at our cafeteria at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a student stepped behind me with a big smile on his face. I know this student, Pally, and asked what he'd been up to. Pally said he'd just gotten back from...

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Watson Is No Match for Humanity

(30) Comments | Posted February 23, 2011 | 2:58 PM

The Watson craze last week didn't fully hit me until my cab driver got lost and cheerily exclaimed in thickly-accented English, "Watson! Heeeeelp me!" I find it interesting how the so-called "artificial intelligence" (AI) systems I studied decades ago at MIT are on their way to becoming the Fonzies (Watson...

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When Digital Doesn't Do It

(4) Comments | Posted May 25, 2010 | 3:54 PM

"I offered to get a Kindle for my daughter when I saw how filled her backpack was with heavy books -- her response was a flat 'no.'"

This story was relayed to us over dinner with the publisher of a major magazine grappling with the "you-mean-you-don't-have-an-iPad-App-yet-are-you-crazy?" fanaticism that has...

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Why Apple Leads the Way in Design

(5) Comments | Posted September 21, 2009 | 11:00 AM

A few months ago, I sat with John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple, who described Steve Jobs' primary design principle: "Not what you can add, but what you can remove." It reminded me of the first law I outlined in my book The Laws of Simplicity, that, "The simplest...

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