Eye has always been both a cultural journal and a business-to-business magazine. Though we value work that is both beautiful and effective, the ecology of graphic design rests on a transactional network – from client, to studio, to final output – that is underpinned by friendly relationships with 'suppliers' such as photographers, illustrators, printers, developers, repro houses, paper companies and type foundries.
Though it is a cliché to say that the client-designer relationship is what distinguishes design from art, we know that the art world, which benefits immensely from studios such as Apfel and Mues Design, can be driven by financial wizardry and whims as mysterious as the business of fashion. In 'Normcore inferno', Elizabeth Glickfeld investigates what she calls the strange 'double speak' of the new wave of logo design for luxury brands.
Gottschalk+Ash’s Sascha Lötscher believes that for business to take design seriously, designers should do their best work for commerce, not culture. But he decries the confrontational format of 'the pitch', in which a potential client says: 'impress me.' Happily, much of the work in this issue, cultural or commercial, stems from friendly partnerships – with clients and consumers – that develop slowly over time. John Ridpath’s article about ethics in the digital age is a timely reminder that designers have responsibilities that go far beyond what we regard as effective or 'good' design.