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“Design By Numbers”: John Maeda e la computazione applicata al graphic design

Design By Numbers (DBN) was a pioneering pedagogical experiment led by John Maeda in the second half of the nineties at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. Assuming that the computer was not to be considered just a tool, but the most important means for visual production and processing in the contemporary era, the lab sought to familiarize graphic designers with the computational languages inherently underlying the working principles of digital media. The essay retraces the experience from both a historiographical and pedagogical perspective, firstly contextualizing it within the evolutionary path of the Media Lab, secondly analyzing its didactic framework as such, and finally examining the cultural impact of an educational project which, as a whole, has played a significant role in promoting the accessibility and assimilation of new technologies by the graphic design community.


This article is only available in Italian.

“Design By Numbers”: John Maeda e la computazione applicata al graphic design

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in AIS/Design Storia e Ricerche, numero 8 ottobre 2016

Giulia Ciliberto

Giulia Ciliberto, born in Naples in 1984, is an Italian designer and researcher, operating mainly in the field of visual design for communication, web and publishing. In 2012, she received her Master’s Degree in Visual and Multimedia Communications from the Iuav University of Venice, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Architecture, City and Design, in the Design Sciences curriculum. The research project, which concerns the pedagogy of communication design fundamentals, is supported by her regular involvement as a tutor and teaching assistant in the same disciplinary area. Since 2012, she has collaborated with the Italian Association of Design Historians (AIS/Design) on the editorial committee of AIS/Design: History and Research magazine, and since 2014 she has worked with Il Prato Publishing House (Padua, IT), as the director of Progetto Re-Cycle magazine.

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