The world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal
< Eye >
London, England, 1990
Eye (www.eyemagazine.com) is a London-based quarterly culture magazine dedicated to visual art and founded by world-renowned design critic Rick Poynor. From the moment it was first published—a magazine featuring in-depth analysis of its subjects and complemented by alluring editorial design work—the magazine instantly rose to fame, garnering support from numerous graphic designers around the world. Eye magazine envisions itself as an archive highlighting the forerunners of visual art and, unlike an ordinary magazine, is a journal that can offer pointed critiques and valuable opinions on the same subject.
Eye‘s deft creation of a niche within the industry was firmly backed up by an exceptional group of contributors which, on top of Rick Poynor himself, included Phil Baines, Steven Heller, Robin Kinross, Abbott Miller, Alice Twemlow, and Adrian Shaughnessy. This incredible writing staff adds their talent and professionalism to the graphic design and visual art aspects to the magazine. As a self-described “quarterly magazine,” Eye has aimed to issue four volumes a year since its inception, but it has faced a tremendous challenge in meeting this goal since 2011. Even worse, they published only one volume in 2015. This had many questioning its sustainability. Luckily, however, Eye will reportedly be going back on track in 2016. The incumbent editor-in-chief, John L. Walters, has been heading the magazine since 1999 and is its third editor-in-chief.
Eye magazine is famous for its exceptionally appealing editorial design, which evokes a reader’s desire to possess the magazine.
“It supplies a qualitative and sensual experience—when reading about graphic design and visual culture—that is very different to that supplied by digital publishing.” Eye editor-in-chief John L. Walters
Established as a quarterly magazine in 1990, Eye deals with graphic design and visual culture. What were/are the biggest challenges that have taken place since your launch?
The biggest constatnt challenge is to publish on time without sacrificing the quality of the contents.
You define yourself as a “design journal,” not a “design magazine.” Is there any specific reason for this?
Eye is a magazine, a journal, a review. We don’t make a distinction between those terms.
Your aim is to publish the magazine quarterly. What are some unique characteristics to publishing a quarterly magazine from an editorial and design perspective, for instance?
A quarterly can go into subjects in great depth, like a book, for example, but without the responsibility, a book might have to tell the complete story. (By the way, I have just completed writing a book about Alan Kitching and designed by Simon Esterson of Eye. It will be published in April 2016.)
What exactly is your digital strategy? Does the fact that you’ve been offering digital content online through a blog since 2008 suggest the end of a print version of Eye?
On the contrary, the digital side is there to support the printed magazine and archive the written contents of Eye. The website dates back to 2002 and contains a large number of articles, including many from issues no longer in print. The Eye blog began in 2008, as did Eye’s Twitter account, followed by Facebook and Instagram, which are our principal means of attracting new readers. However, the business of Eye is focused on income from our loyal subscribers and regular/occasional readers, and our equally loyal advertisers.
What is your competitive edge over other design magazines?
I think I mentioned part of this in my answer to the last question. But maybe that is best for others to answer. What is your view?
Where do you see Eye 10 years from now? What is the final goal for Eye?
Some readers tell us they value print more than ever since it supplies a qualitative and sensual experience—when reading about graphic design and visual culture—that is very different to that supplied by digital publishing (though that can be complementary, as with our use of social media). Many areas of communications are better served by websites and apps, but the way our writers approach the subject, plus the way Simon Esterson lays out the pages and chooses the [type of] paper and sequence of articles, etc., makes something quite distinctive in the present environment. Whether this will still be the case in 2026 is not something we care to predict.