Autumn 1993

Editorial Eye 10


What is the point of writing about graphic design? To readers of Eye this will seem a strange question. Surely the reasons are self-evident: to understand graphic design as a profession we need a history; to mature a communicators we need criticism and theory; just to keep in touch we need basic journalism. There are still designers, nevertheless, who regard all these words as pointless and somehow irrelevant to a visual medium. In the latest issue of the fine Dutch poster magazine Affiche, a London art director is quoted as saying: “It’s ridiculous to write about posters. It’s doing the opposite of what posters should do. Just show the good ones.” Eye takes a quite different view, but as letters we publish in this issue seem to suggest, the critical path we follow is strewn with misunderstandings. Our correspondents focus on two articles in Eye no. 9 vol. 3 – Steven Heller’s “Cult of the ugly” and the “Monitor” report “Whatever became of the content?” – both of which took a questioning look at recent tendencies in design. To those whose work was criticised in the articles, if only by implication, it seemed that Eye had abruptly deserted their cause. So perhaps, with the publication of this issue, our tenth, we should restate and clarify our position: we show challenging and experimental work because it interests us, because we believe it will interest others, and because we regard it as genuinely significant. But work at the cutting edge will by its nature polarise debates about communication (that is one reason why it is so interesting and significant) and any intellectually honest view is bound to acknowledge such design as, at the very least, problematic. Our role, as we see it, is not to take sides, though of course we have our preferences and sympathies, but to act as a forum for analysis and debate. We don’t expect as editors to agree with every point of view we publish; that would make for a boring and one-sided magazine. We do believe arguments should be well made and coherent. This is a time of transition for graphic design and there is a great deal still to be said. We welcome your ideas and letters and hope you will continue to say it.

First published in Eye no. 10 vol. 3 1993

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