Summer 1996

No longer collecting dust

The intellectual investment we make in graphic design is reflected in its collectability and value

There is an inexhaustible supply of printed ephemera in a variety of forms – packaging, labels, advertising posters, magazines and more – now circulating as a by-product of industrial development throughout the world. Almost every issue of Eye has focused on some species of graphic ephemera, be it record sleeves, magazine covers, matchbox labels or club flyers. Simultaneously significant and commonplace, the relative merit of much of this material still has to be established.

The enormous variety of forms that bear the imprint of graphic design, and our changing responses to it, create an exciting flux of discovery and recognition which offers historians and collectors a unique opportunity. Now, more than ever, it is the images from the past that will define our future, and the intellectual investment we make in them is mirrored in the value and price we give them.


Paul Rennie, poster historian, collector and dealer, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 21 vol. 6, 1996

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.