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Selected works by John Maeda

2 May

As mentioned in Chee La’s presentation this morning. John Maeda’s site hasn’t been updated since (gasp!) 2008, but there are a lot of good ideas within–though a few no longer work. We’ll give Maeda a pass as he’s spent the last few years serving as the president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

My current favorite is the Misspeller.

Says Maeda, “I’m something of a fanatic when it comes to spelling. In recent years I wish that I didn’t have to live with this curse as it would make my life more livable.” I’ve often thought the same thing. It’s a bit of a crux sometimes.


“We can’t think of a narrative-based web object that’s taken better advantage of the medium.”

8 Mar

Have you ever heard of Pine Point, a small mining town that once existed in the Northwest Territories of Canada? Me neither. But I’ve been haunted by this document since I first saw it yesterday. It was authored by the creative team formerly behind the venerable Adbusters magazine. I read about it on Very Short List, who wrote that they “can’t think of a narrative-based Web object that’s taken better advantage of the medium.” Indeed, this project really shows the potential of new media to chronicle the human experience.

It’s like a scrapbook with superpowers.

Location of a former city:

Interesting fact: Buffalo Airlines is the last airline to use the DC-3 (which is my very favorite airplane) in regularly scheduled service.

Ten centuries in five minutes.

17 Nov

I am really excited about the potential to add motion/time to maps. Here’s a riveting example. To think I’ve been feeling a little guilty that our globe at home features two Germanys!

But can we do something about that color scheme (and maybe the type)? Always the designer….

Use your tools, your voice.

11 Oct

Last week, a former student of mine sent me a link to a lovely video titled Thoughts On My Bike. There are many things to like about this piece: I am especially interested in the intersection of hand-drawn art (drawing, painting) and new technology (video, internet). I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Too often, we think of these things as being separate from one another… black or white… Luddite or techie. But to me, the potential of contemporary design and art lies in the ability to use the tools you have available to you to best express your vision.

Further inquiry revealed that Thoughts On My Bike was made by Andrea Dorfman, the same person who made How To Be Alone, one of my favorite viral videos of the past year. In How To Be Alone, Dorfman celebrates the ins and outs of solitude over a really lovely soundtrack. More, please.

A reason to procrastinate…

24 Sep

…even if this short animated film worsens your procrastination. It is Friday, after all. And you’ll be all the better for it after being reminded what techniques like stop-motion animation and drawing by hand can do to drive a point home. The film’s creator, Johnny Kelly, has many, many activities here to share… nearly everything except the job requiring completion.

My favorite is the organizing of bookshelves by color. In fact, I’m going to do that now. Never mind all of the other (more important) stuff waiting for my attention.