Judges Spotlight February 26, 2016

5 Things You Should Know About John Maeda

Captivated by and a champion of the artistic power of computer programming, John Maeda is bridging the gap between art and science.
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John Maeda's home screen with an original design as his background.

An Executive Judge at The Webbys, John Maeda has been included on Esquire’s 21 most important people in the 21st Century as well as the list of Time’s Top 140 Twitter Feeds in 2012. Currently, John Maeda serves as the Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion (AKA: Head of Design) at Automattic.

As a technologist and artist, John has demonstrated the importance of computers as a medium and not merely as a tool. Recently, he shared a snapshot of the home screen of his phone with us—a glimpse into his search for the perfect calendar app. What’s more, Maeda published the story behind the background of his iPhone on his personal site.

Get to know John Maeda

Captivated by and a champion of the artistic power of computer programming, John Maeda is bridging the gap between art and science.

Thought Leader & Scholar

Before moving into his current position at Automattic, John Maeda’s focus was on education. He received his undergraduate degree at MIT and, afterwards, was a professor of Media Arts & Sciences there.

Following which, he assumed the role of president at RISD, where he emphasized STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) course learning for students, a more inclusive update to the STEM educational track.

Sneaker Head

John has collaborated twice with Reebok to design custom kicks, producing the Fury Pump Strucess and the Reebok Timetanium.

Both collaborations feature original designs from Maeda’s organic mathematic algorithms and computer codes; and the interior lining of the Timetanium is a print of his original, hand-written calculation. Only 100 pairs went into production, making the Timetanium a coveted item among the sneaker aesthete.

Computer Science Scholar

Among his several published books, Design by Numbers is considered the computer programming primer for artists. More recently, his 2015 #DesignInTech Report is a landmark publication for assessing and quantifying design’s ascent into the upper echelon of the tech industry.


John has held gallery shows of his art across the country and his early work for print and computer was accessioned into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Broad Vision & Influence

His chairmanships include seats on the Board of Director at Sonos and on the Technical Advisory Board of Google. Likewise, he is a trustee at Wieden+Kennedy and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Keep up with John on Twitter.

Making groundbreaking design experiences? Enter the 21st Annual Webby Awards today and have work judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences who, besides John Maeda, count Suzana Apelbaum, Creative Director at Anomaly and Chris Nyffeler, Design Director at IDEO.

Don’t forget, the Extended Entry Deadline is January 27th, 2017Enter today!