Ben Fry is principal of Fathom Information Design, a design and software consultancy located in Boston. He received his doctoral degree from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his research focused on combining fields such as computer science, statistics, graphic design, and data visualization as a means for understanding information. After completing his thesis, he spent time developing tools for visualization of genetic data as a postdoc with Eric Lander at the Eli & Edythe L. Broad Insitute of MIT & Harvard. During the 2006-2007 school year, Ben was the Nierenberg Chair of Design for the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. At the end of 2007, he finished writing Visualizing Data for O’Reilly. In 2011, he won the National Design Award for Interaction Design from the Cooper-Hewitt.
With Casey Reas of UCLA, he currently develops Processing, an open source programming environment for teaching computational design and sketching interactive media software that won a Golden Nica from the Prix Ars Electronica in 2005. The project also received the 2005 Interactive Design prize from the Tokyo Type Director’s Club. In 2006, Fry received a New Media Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to support the project. Processing was also featured in the 2006 Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial. In 2007, Reas and Fry published Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists with MIT Press, and in 2010, they published Getting Started with Processing with O’Reilly and MAKE. Processing 1.0 was released in November 2008, and is used by tens of thousands of people every week.
Founded in 2010 by Fry, Fathom Information Design in Boston, MA, works with clients to explain complex data through interactive tools and software for mobile devices, the web and large format installations. Fathom partners with Fortune 500s and non-profit organizations across sectors, including health care, education, financial services, media, technology and consumer products.
Fry’s personal work has shown at the Whitney Biennial in 2002 and the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial in 2003. Other pieces have appeared in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2001, 2008), at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria (2000, 2002, 2005) and in the films Minority Report and The Hulk. His information graphics have also illustrated articles for the journal Nature, New York Magazine, and the The New York Times.
Rhizome, Interview with Casey Reas and Ben Fry
Online Journalism Blog, “It’s black and white to colour”: Ben Fry on data visualization’s past and future