Rune Madsen

Designer, programmer, artist, and educator. Designs and builds web applications, graphic design systems, interactive installations, and many other things involving artistic uses of computation. Believes in simplicity, organized complexity, and that the pragmatic and poetic is inseparable.


Twitter, Instagram, GitHub, Vimeo, Facebook.


Design Systems International

Partner and Co-Founder. January 2018 – Present.

Design Systems International is a design studio founded by designers who primarily work in code to develop digital design systems for international clients. Clients include O'Reilly Media, Pentagram Design, MIT, and Safari Books Online.

New York University Shanghai

Assistant Arts Professor. September 2017 – Present.

Professor at the Interactive Media Arts Program at New York University Shanghai, the first sino-US joint venture university in China. Researched focused on writing Programming Design Systems, a free digital book that teaches a practical introduction to the new foundations of graphic design.

New York University

Faculty Researcher. January 2016 - June 2017.

Working on Programming Design Systems, a book that reimagines the graphic design curriculum using a programming language as the tool for the designer. Creator of The Magic Book Project, a free tool for making print and digital books from a single source. Creator of Rune.js, a JavaScript framework for creating algorithmic graphic design systems.

O'Reilly Media

Creative Director of O'Reilly Studios. January 2015 – December 2015.

Managed a team of designers and engineers while leading the redesign of and O'Reilly Media's digital brand. These projects involved creating a new design system, spreading this design system across the organization, and developing the necessary cloud-based infrastructure for deploying the website to a global audience. Led the research and development for O'Reilly Oriole, a new type of interactive learning content that combines video with annotated, scrollable web content.

Director of Software Development. October 2013 – January 2015.

Oversaw the design and development of O'Reilly Atlas, a web application that drastically simplified the creation and distribution of O'Reilly Media's digital content. Responsible for hiring and managing the designers and engineers working on the project.

Web Designer and Developer. October 2012 – October 2013.

Worked on research and development efforts across the organization, including new initiatives to modernize the production of digital book content. Designed and built O'Reilly Chimera, a new type of reading platform for interactive learning material.

New York University

Adjunct Professor. September 2012 - May 2017.

Adjunct professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. Taught Programming Design Systems, a graduate class where students explore the use of computational techniques to produce physical prints. Taught Rethinking Production Tools, a class dedicated to researching and developing new production tools for digital media. Taught graduate foundation classes, including Communications Lab: Web, an introduction to the basics of HTTP and client/server communication.

The New York Times

Interactive Developer. January 2011 – January 2012.

Developed visual stories for, including the front-page featured 9/11 Tapes and The Ruth Madoff Interview. Developed a custom annotation system for the interactive debate transcripts for the first, second, and third presidential debate in 2012.


Web Designer and Developer. 2008 – 2011.

Freelance consultant for Lego, Dong Energy, Saxo Bank, TV2, ARoS Museum of Modern Art, and dozens of other Danish companies. Project lead on the redesign of the international website and digital catalogue for Innovation Furniture. Semi-finalist in the Adobe Design Awards 2009.


New York University

Research Resident. September 2011 - August 2012.

Taught help sessions for graduate students, including sessions on Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Ruby/Sinatra. Developed a system to help Daniel Shiffman produce the first edition of his The Nature of Code book. Worked on the first versions of the Tiny Artists project.

Master of Professional Studies. September 2009 - May 2011

The Interactive Telecommunications Program is a graduate program that explores the intersection between art and technology. Thesis project was a Git-based, Pinterest-style web application. Recipient of a Tisch School of the Arts graduate scholarship.

University of Copenhagen

Bachelor of Arts. September 2005 - July 2008.

Major in Film and Media studies, a program focused on the analysis of modern media and the interplay between these and society.