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A glorious visual exploration of ideas and graphic form, Meada @ Media is a compendium of experience and experimentation that has taken a decade to gather. Twelve thematic chapters provide an overview of his entire career and research. Also included is new, riveting imagery that has been created exclusively for this publication.
Coming together in a massive 464 pages, printed in a dazzling array of color combinations on three different kinds of paper, the result is a manifesto, a finely crafted manual and inspiration sourcebook all in one.
Author Biography: John Maeda is Sony Professor of Media Arts and Science at the M.I.T. Media Lab. He is the author of Design by Numbers.
Nicholas Negroponte is the director of the M.I.T. Lab and the author of Being Digital.
One question was how to change the world. A well designed building here and there was an unlikely means, except in history books. But designing the tools designers would use felt like a lot more leverage. And, MIT being the birthplace of computer graphics, I was brought quickly to the idea of computer-aided design, under the influence of a self-made mathematician named Steve Coons.
Steve had figured out how to mathematically "loft" ships and airplanes (the long gentle curves which literally required lofts to be laid out and drawn at full scale) on a standard size sheet of paper. Believe me, in the 1960s, bringing computers and design together required pure faith, because the two seemed to bring out the worst in each other. Furthermore, the intellectual space itself seemed to be fully occupied by either failed artists or failed scientists. For the next thirty years, the signature of the machine was invariably stronger than the humans. Witness the near irrelevance to date of computer art -- all those unseemly pinstriped suits.
This is changing for many reasons, three of which are germane to this book: visual thinking, graphical expression, and simplicity.
Visual thinking is more a part of our lives than ever before. The personal computer, the Internet, and modern-day printers bring us into regular contact with drawings, diagrams, and photographs. Increasingly, we make or process them ourselves. Children manipulate lines, shapes, color, as well as still and moving images, like no generation before. We're not only digital, we're visual.
Graphic design is emerging as an every-day tool for communications. After a period of graphical cacophony, which resulted from limitless options (fonts and layout galore), we have entered into a period of far more subtle design, constrained by the continuing need to inform. Making things quick and easy to understand is a requirement, now more than ever.
Besides, we're all fed up with complexity. Software has turned into a compost heap of useless options, expired releases and nonsensical interfaces. In fact, computers have become harder to use in recent years, not easier. They're also less reliable.
We've all had enough of this. It is time to rethink our digital world and to listen to new voices. John Maeda is one of them. He deconstructs the digital world with the earned authority of an M.I.T.-trained computer scientist and a card-carrying artist. Being ambidextrous with Eastern and Western cultures, he can see things most of us overlook. The result is a humor and expression that brings out the best in computers and art, and in so doing-in my mind-is the grey pinstriped suit we have all been looking for.
Posted April 3, 2001
Calm, patient and working, wondering why the world does not see through the simplicity...Prof. Maeda, Sony Professor of Media Arts and Science at the MIT Media Lab is inspiring young designers by example. His endeavour to remove the digital divide between the `creative¿ and the `tech¿ has taken him from higher education in computer science, to graphic design and further to creating newer methods of interactive information visualisation. This book very profoundly mixes glimpses of his initial concepts and struggles with the final programs. One project leads to another, and by the time one has read the book, there is a feeling of `why didn¿t I see this before¿. In his book Maeda not only shows the destination but also the path, seeped in the Zen of his roots.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.