Eye, the most expensive graphic-design magazine, continues to baffle. The Winter 2007 issue, located for free at the library, contains:
- An ad from Monotype pushing its scalable fonts for mobile devices. What fonts? American Uncial, Benguiat Gothic, Raphael, Rotis, and about ten novelty fonts.
- An article by Robin Richmond entitled “The Look of Web 2.0” that completely misses the point of what that is. “here is a 2.0 ‘uniform,’ with the result that a vast array of sites ultimately look the same.” Richmond is trying to talk about gradients and big green or blue buttons with Myriad type, but fails at this straightforward task of reiterating common wisdom. And his screenshots from Facebook, Technorati (who?), Flickr, and Spreadshirt don’t look the same at all.
- A good short piece (yes) by Khoi Vinh (yes) advocating a mobile-centric design for mobile devices.
- Three largely incoherent articles on reviewing the recent past to predict the future; interfaces; and green printing.
- A single-page photo essay on trucks in Mali and Senegal – reminiscent of articles by Bob Christgau trying to sell the idea that guitar-based dance music from African nations really is important and interesting. (It may be undesign, but Eye has run too many articles on this sort of thing, always from Third or Second World nations. In fact, there are two pieces on India right in the same issue – one of them a solid report on “fairness” creams. But how about undesign in Scotland? Or undesign in government documents? Not worth covering because the undesigners are whites living in a rich country?)
- Yet another feature on Kyle Cooper. (Did it bump the feature on David Carson to the next issue?) And whaddya know, there’s a couple of frames from Seven. Here Cooper’s stilted, over-rehearsed quotes were obviously E-mailed in. (“It’s not at all easy to live up to the promise of the work I did in the past. Or even try to repeat it. The conditions are not the same, nor are the participants, to engender those pieces.”) Using E-mailed quotes is a venial sin; as they are one step removed from an African cabinet minister’s official statement about his upcoming corruption trial, a real journalist refuses to interview a (hearing) source via any method that isn’t voice.
- A full page of nonsense from Steven Heller about how not all designers are liberals, with a plethora of unattributed quotes from his hated and feared rivals, the bloggers. We’ll see if they publish my letter in response.
But what really got my goat was Liz Farrelly’s piece about ATypI Brighton. “Scholarly research was to the fore at this conference – but not simply for its own sake, as lessons were to be learn.” Then the first person she name-drops is Sumner fucking Stone. I talked to him on the phone in summer 1986 about going to work for Adobe – really – but come on, apart from being told over and over again that his accomplishments are many and storied, are they, really? When was the last time Stone Sans really worked for you?
Farrelly couldn’t cover everything. (Funnily enough, I could – I guess that’s the superiority of the Web for you.) But what am I, chopped tofu? I gave two goddamned lectures there, one of which was all about new methods for research. (Incidentally, how does Eye render the name of the conference? With everything but yp in small caps: ATypI.)
To add headache to injury, the magazine offgasses and the pages stink. Greener printing, please.