John Maeda

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John Maeda
John Maeda.jpg
Born 1966 (age 48–49)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Nationality Japanese-American
Alma mater MIT (SB, SM)
Tsukuba University (PhD)
Occupation Graphic designer, computer scientist, and author
Spouse(s) Kris Maeda (née Sheahan) [1]
Children 5 daughters: Mika, Rie, Saaya, Naoko and Reina

John Takeshi Maeda (born 1966), more commonly known as John Maeda, is a Japanese-American graphic designer, computer scientist, and author. His work in design, technology and leadership explores the area where the fields merge. He was the President of the Rhode Island School of Design from 2008 to 2013.[2] [3] He is currently a Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.[4]

Maeda was originally a software engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when he became fascinated with the work of Paul Rand and Muriel Cooper. Cooper was a director of MIT's Visible Language Workshop. After completing his bachelors and masters degrees at MIT, Maeda studied in Japan at Tsukuba University's Institute of Art and Design to complete his Ph.D. in design.

As an artist, Maeda’s early work redefined the use of electronic media as a tool for expression by combining computer programming with traditional artistic technique, laying the groundwork for the interactive motion graphics that are taken for granted on the web today. He has exhibited in 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.

At RISD, Maeda led the movement to transform STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to STEAM by adding Art. He believes art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century.

In 1999, he was named one of the 21 most important people in the 21st century by Esquire.[5] In 2001, he received the National Design Award for Communication Design in the United States and Japan's Mainichi Design Prize.[6]

In 2006, Maeda published Laws of Simplicity, his best-selling book to date, based on a research project to find ways for people to simplify their life in the face of growing complexity.

In 2009 he was inducted into the New York Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame, and he received the AIGA Medal in 2011. He is a trustee of the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum.[7]

John Maeda at World Economic Forum at Davos
John Maeda at World Economic Forum at Davos.


  • Redesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life), MIT Press, 2011
  • The Laws of Simplicity, MIT Press, 2006.
  • Creative Code, Thames and Hudson, 2004.
  • maeda@media, Thames and Hudson / Rizzoli / Bangert Verlag, 2000.
  • Design By Numbers, MIT Press, 1999.
  • Tap, Type, Write, Digitalogue Co., 1998.
  • 12 o’clocks, Digitalogue Co., 1997.
  • Flying Letters, Digitalogue Co., 1996.
  • Reactive Square, Digitalogue Co., 1995.


  1. ^ Walker, Alissa. "John Maeda’s Wife Bet Their Five Daughters He Wouldn’t Land RISD Gig". AdWeek. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Internationally Known Designer, Innovator, and Academic to Lead the Preeminent School of Art and Design in the 21st Century". Rhode Island School of Design. December 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  3. ^ "John Maeda Moves On". Rhode Island School of Design. December 18, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  4. ^ "John Maeda Joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as Design Partner". Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  5. ^ "More of The Esquire 21". Esquire Magazine; Hearst Communications, Inc. November 1999. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  6. ^ "MAEDA NAMED ONE OF YEAR’S MOST INFLUENTIAL DESIGNERS". MIT School of Architecture + Planning. June 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  7. ^ "Board of Trustees". Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 

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