Designer, artist, and computer scientist John Maeda is a leader in creating design solutions for the digital age. The newly appointed president of the Rhode Island School of Design, Maeda focuses his work on answering the question, “How do we simplify increasingly complex technologies?” Frustrated that computers tend to become more complicated and difficult to use with each new generation, he started an MIT workshop devoted to promoting simplicity in design. The project evolved into his book The Laws of Simplicity: a ten-point manifesto on the topic. In Maeda’s view, a chief role of designers in the 21st century will be to harness technology and make it useful to everyday people.

Maeda’s artwork is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, and he has also served as a design consultant for Apple and Google, among other companies. As he prepares to welcome his first class of incoming students this fall, he has been blogging at our.risd.edu, an open forum where the RISD community can post suggestions and criticisms about the school.