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John Maeda

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John Maeda
Maeda at SXSW 2024
16th President of the Rhode Island School of Design
In office
June 2008 – December 2013
Personal details
Born1966 (age 57–58)
Seattle, Washington, US
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Tsukuba University
ProfessionDesigner, executive, technologist

John Maeda (born 1966) is a Vice President of Design and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft. He is an American technologist and designer whose work explores where business, design, and technology merge to make space for the "humanist technologist."[1][2]

Previously, Maeda served as is Chief Technology Officer of Everbridge from October 2020 through October 2022. President of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) from June 2008 until December 2013.[3][4] Before that he was a research professor at the MIT Media Lab leading advancements in computational design,[5][6] low-code/no-code,[7][8] and creative commerce.[9][10]

Early life and education[edit]

John Maeda was born in 1966 in Seattle, Washington, where his father owned a tofu factory.[11] Maeda studied Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where 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 bachelor's and master's degrees at MIT, Maeda completed his PhD in design at Tsukuba University's Institute of Art and Design in Japan.[11] He also has an MBA from Arizona State University.[12]


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 interactive motion graphics on the web. 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.[13]

He is formerly Executive Vice President, Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient[14] where he developed the LEAD (Light, Ethical, Accessible, Dataful) doctrine[15] for technology products and services. Prior to that he was Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic where he sought to address the diversity gap in tech[16] by exploring how inclusion could be a key ingredient for success in the technology industry.[17][18][19] Before that he was Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) where he advised startups on the business impact of design[20][21][22][23][24] and continues as a Strategic Advisor. He also served on the Board of Directors of consumer electronics company Sonos and global advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy.

He was a professor at the MIT Media Lab for 12 years where he fostered a community of designers who could code and engineers who could design called the Aesthetics + Computation Group,[1][25] and then created the Physical Language Workshop[26] with Henry Holtzman. Shortly after the launch of the Design By Numbers[27] project to teach artists and designers how to code, he helped to accelerate the Scratch language project in an NSF proposal with outreach across the digital divide.[28][29] He resigned from MIT in 2008[30] to become the President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), just as the global financial crisis of 2007-09 took hold.[31]

In 2011, RISD's faculty majority passed a vote of no confidence in Maeda.[32][33][34] He survived the vote,[35] and subsequently led RISD to be recognized by the business community as number one in the world[36] while shepherding the national STEAM movement,[37][38][39][40] feeling that "art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century."[41] For his work in advancing STEAM education, Maeda was recognized with a Tribeca Film Festival Disruptor Award[42] and the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy[43] at the John F. Kennedy Center.[citation needed] Maeda resigned from his RISD presidency at the end of 2013[44][45] and joined KPCB.[46] Around the same time he also joined eBay's Design Advisory Board as chairman.[47]

In 2014 and 2015, he guest curated and hosted PopTech: REBELLION[48] and PopTech: HYBRID.[49]

In 2015 he published his first Design In Tech Report[50] to connect the investing world with the world of design and technology. A 2nd Design in Tech Report was published in 2016 and later in 2017, a 3rd Design In Tech Report was published.[51]

From 2019 until 2020, he was an Executive Vice President and Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient[52] where he helped businesses bridge strategy and engineering with computational design.[53]


In 1999, he was named one of the 21 most important people in the 21st century by Esquire.[54] In 2001, he received the National Design Award for Communication Design in the United States and Japan's Mainichi Design Prize.[55]

He received the 2005 Lucky Strike Designer Award [de] from the Raymond Loewy Foundation.[56]

In 2009, he was inducted into the New York Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame, and he received the AIGA Medal in 2010.[11] He is a trustee of the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum.[57]

Honorary doctorates awarded by City University of Hong Kong (2022), Drexel University (2017),[58] Simon Fraser University (2014),[59] Maryland Institute College of Arts (2003).[60]

Personal life[edit]

Maeda is married to Kris Maeda and together they have five daughters.[61][62][12] Kris and John Maeda worked together on the design consultancy, MAEDASTUDIO.[61]


  • Maeda, John (2019). How To Speak Machine: Computational Thinking For The Rest Of Us. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 9780241976616.
  • Redesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life), MIT Press, 2011
  • The Laws of Simplicity, MIT Press, 2006.[63]
  • 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dreifus, Claudia (1999-07-27). "A Conversation With: John Maeda — When M.I.T. Artist Shouts, His 'Painting' Listens". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  2. ^ "Maeda's Simplicity: 2 Letters 2B Human". 2008-06-21. Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  3. ^ "John Maeda Named New President Of RISD". MIT School of Architecture + Planning. January 2008. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  4. ^ Blum, Alexander (2013-12-06). "RISD president's departure elicits mixed response". Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  5. ^ Davis, Daniel (July 31, 2016). "The Next Generation of Computational Design". www.architectmagazine.com. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  6. ^ "Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959–1989". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  7. ^ "A Networked, Media-Rich Programming Environment to Enhance Technological Fluency at After-School Centers in Economically-Disadvantaged Communities" (PDF). mit.edu. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  8. ^ Maeda, John (1999-04-14). Design by Numbers. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-13354-8.
  9. ^ "Project Overview ‹ Openstudio". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  10. ^ "Openstudio". BURAK ARIKAN. 2005-03-18. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  11. ^ a b c "2010 AIGA Medalist: John Maeda". AIGA | the professional association for design. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  12. ^ a b "John Maeda named president of Rhode Island School of Design". MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  13. ^ "John Maeda | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  14. ^ "John Maeda Dataful". origin.publicissapient.com. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  15. ^ Oakes, Omar (February 17, 2020). "John Maeda: a dataful mind". www.campaignlive.com. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  16. ^ "Tech execs acknowledge diversity gap. So, what's next?". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  17. ^ "John Maeda's New Design Problem: Tech's Utter Lack Of Diversity". Co.Design. 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  18. ^ "Design For The Rest Of Us". Traffic Magazine. 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  19. ^ "Tech Has A Diversity Problem–So This Designer Went To Kentucky". Co.Design. 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  20. ^ "John Maeda Joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as Design Partner". Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. December 4, 2013. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  21. ^ "The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Design". Fast Company. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  22. ^ "Take It From an Expert: Design Is More Important Than Ever". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  23. ^ McFarland, Matt (2015-03-15). "John Maeda says design is winning in Silicon Valley". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  24. ^ "KPCB's John Maeda: 3 types of design every company needs to know". venturebeat.com. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  25. ^ "aesthetics + computation group :: mit media laboratory". acg.media.mit.edu.
  26. ^ "Physical Language Workshop". plw.media.mit.edu.
  27. ^ "Design By Numbers". 1999.
  28. ^ "Development of Scratch 1.0 - Scratch Wiki". wiki.scratch.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  29. ^ Resnick, Mitchell (2003). "A Networked, Media-Rich Programming Environment to Enhance Technological Fluency at After-School Centers in Economically-Disadvantaged Communities" (PDF). MIT.
  30. ^ Browning, Dominique (2008-09-02). "Design for Learning: RISD Gets a New Type of President". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  31. ^ "Digital Thinking at Rhode Island School of Design". Fast Company. 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  32. ^ Tischler, Linda (2011-04-20). "RISD Old Guard Clashes With Its Tweeting President John Maeda". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  33. ^ Siclen, Bill Van (2013-12-04). "RISD president John Maeda to leave for job in Silicon Valley". Providence Journal. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  34. ^ Johnson, Paddy (2011-03-11). "RISD's President John Maeda Responds to No-Confidence Vote". Art F City. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  35. ^ Tischler, Linda (2011-04-26). "John Maeda Mulls RISD's Backlash Against His Cyber-Style Leadership". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  36. ^ Dickey, Megan Rose. "The World's 25 Best Design Schools". Business Insider. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  37. ^ Fontain, Henry (31 October 2014). "Putting Art in STEM". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-10-31.
  38. ^ Maeda, John. "On Meaningful Observation". seedmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2010-12-30. Retrieved 2018-03-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  39. ^ "John Maeda: STEM to STEAM". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  40. ^ "CultureLab: From STEM to STEAM: Adding art to science". www.newscientist.com. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  41. ^ "Reps. Bonamici and Schock Announce Bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus". Office of Congresswoman Bonamici bonamici.house.gov website. February 2013. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  42. ^ "John Maeda - STEM to STEAM Initiative". Disruptor Awards. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  43. ^ "Nancy Hanks Lecture 2016: John Maeda". Americans for the Arts. 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  44. ^ "John Maeda Moves On". Rhode Island School of Design. December 18, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  45. ^ Cronin, Steve. "Steve Cronin: Maeda deserves better as he leaves RISD". providencejournal.com. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  46. ^ "Make It New". MIT Press. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  47. ^ "John Maeda to Chair Newly-Formed eBay Inc. Design Advisory Board". www.businesswire.com. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  48. ^ "John Maeda on PopTech and VC Life: "Conferences Are the New College" | Xconomy". Xconomy. 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  49. ^ "Hybrids and the Slash Generation: John Maeda Breaks the Funk | Xconomy". Xconomy. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  50. ^ "Design in Tech Report 2015". KPCB. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  51. ^ "Design in Tech Report 2017". John Maeda. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  52. ^ Schwab, Katharine (2019-06-18). "5 years ago, this design guru went to work in Silicon Valley. Here's why he's done". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  53. ^ Maeda, John (2 April 2019). "John Maeda says there are three kinds of design—but one is most important". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  54. ^ "More of The Esquire 21". Esquire Magazine; Hearst Communications, Inc. November 1999. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  55. ^ "Maeda Named One of the Year's Most Influential Designers". MIT School of Architecture + Planning. June 2005. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  56. ^ "John Maeda wins the Lucky Strike Designer Award". www.domusweb.it. Retrieved 2023-04-30.
  57. ^ "Board of Trustees". Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  58. ^ "Art and Tech Innovator John Maeda to Speak at Drexel Commencement at Citizens Bank Park". DrexelNow. 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  59. ^ "SFU 2014 Honorary Degree Recipients".
  60. ^ "History of MICA's Honorary Degree Recipients". MICA. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  61. ^ a b Resnick, Elizabeth (Autumn 2000). "Reputations: John Maeda". Eye Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  62. ^ "Out of the Lab: An Interview with John Maeda". AIGA | the professional association for design. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  63. ^ Maeda, John (2006-07-07). The Laws of Simplicity. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262260954.

External links[edit]