How does "Eye" stay in business?

Latest issue of Eye arrived. They send it to me free to try and lure me back as an advertiser.
102 pages thereabouts not including covers. I counted 10 pages of advertising at the most.
I spent the first half of my career in the magazine business, how can this be sustainable?


  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,291
    Sadly, it isn't. They will have to move to the e-model
  • European socialism?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,726
    At this point they’re probably running on fumes and volunteers. But when I look at the last few years of Eye I understand why advertisers ran away—it’s hard to imagine designers outside academia reading Eye.

    Opening this thread made me realize that I haven’t seen an issue of Eye since I left New York eleven months ago. I won’t pretend that I miss it—or, for that matter, most other design magazines. Hopefully the void created by the impending collapse of Eye, Print, and How will be filled by some interesting new voices. It will be a shame if we have to subsist on short-lived design blogs in-between issues of Codex and Typography Papers. Design Observer has started posting interesting articles again, when they’re not regurgitating hagiographies of Paul Rand.
  • Dan ReynoldsDan Reynolds Posts: 138
    edited August 2014
    > it’s hard to imagine designers outside academia reading Eye.

    Something of a tangent, but I think that there are enough designers inside academia to sustain a publication like this. My small German university library has a subscription. Several other schools in the country probably do, too. Maybe even dozens of them. And that is just one country where English isn’t even the native language. Then there are the German design professors with their own subscriptions. Scale it up … I think you have enough people paying if you think about the various countries with established university design programs.

    (This does tie into Dave’s “European socialism” comment … but most of the American institutions that buy Eye for their libraries are probably private.)
  • When I was in the magazine biz, subscription fees were generally thought to cover mailing costs and maybe a bit more. Ad rates were where the real income was generated. Magazines like the "Economist" have always had very high subscription rates with ad revenue taking a back seat. Perhaps that is where "Eye" is heading. Although there are a lot more potential readers of the "Economist" than there are for "Eye".
  • Magazine publishing has become exceedingly difficult, with postage especially so for an international journal. On the other hand, the cost of color printing has dropped like a stone over the past 30 years, even as quality has improved dramatically. The paper market, which skyrocketed in the 1990s, when the demand for printing was at it height, has been relatively flat.

    And then there's the profusion of material available online that has driven many academic journals to go paperless. Still, there's a class of material for which print serves best, especially where scale and juxtaposition of images are factors. Printed books will never disappear, and eventually people will get smarter about matching the appropriate medium with the message.

    Such factors were behind the decision to turn Codex into an annual book, sacrificing anything newsy for more in-depth writing and more carefully prepared images. Advertising is replaced by sponsorships. The requisite for the transition was to work with a high-quality, non-profit publisher (essential for getting support in the U.S.), with first-rate international distribution. We found that in The MIT Press, with whom I've worked for some years. (We're still seeking support, but we're getting there!)

    Here's a curious paradox: With Amazon Prime, which is available in most countries in which Amazon operates, we trade the exorbitant cost of shipping (and the very long delivery time) onto Amazon, in return for a steep discount. If you do the numbers, the publisher of large, heavy books such as Codex (it will weigh over 3kg) can come out ahead of the game, while Amazon loses money. (This was the way they grew their market share, though it's now caused consternation amongst the shareholders.) Customers also have an advantage--if they order enough things from Amazon throughout the year. Even if the price of Amazon Prime goes up, it will still be worth it for many consumers, at least for a while. If, however, you're in the ebook business, the numbers work pretty much only for Amazon.

    Amazon may indeed be an evil empire (they do all kinds of nasty things, such as publish their own look-alike book to compete with any real book that's remotely successful), but if you think through the process, there are situations in which they can used to a publisher's advantage.
  • […] it’s hard to imagine designers outside academia reading Eye.
    Why is it hard? I'm well outside academia, and I never miss an issue. And I'll miss it badly if it folds, or goes app-only.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,628
    I love the smell of Eye.

    In the present issue, Irma Bloom speaks of the tangibility and durability of printed books vis-a-vis ebooks. A printed magazine is both device and content, and what a device in the case of Eye! One way that designers can set themselves apart from anyone who has Photoshop and blog is by the use of special printing techniques and papers, and we need to see, touch and smell these, because many areas of printed design, such as food packaging, will never be obsolesced by pixel media.

    On another note, reading researchers have recently discovered that students have better memory of the content of printed books than of ebooks—which points to the ongoing efficacy of print.

    It’s not time to write this medium off just yet, and perhaps a hefty subscription price for Eye, as a means of funding the publication, rather than hefty paid advertising, can find a balance that will sustain itself.

    It’s interesting how many of the articles in Eye are historical, so yes, there is an academic appeal there, as well as to antiquarians and those who were there too.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,291
    edited August 2014
    Sometimes a person gets shagrinned at articles that are called "Historic" but I was still just in my 20s during that time ;-P
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,628
    As long as you’re still getting shagged with a grin, Chris.
  • Sometimes a person gets shagrinned at articles that are called "Historic" but I was still just in my 20s during that time
    I know, right? I mean, Frank Griffo is historical now? I remember him as this arrogant little Italian down the pub, always bitching about Aldus Manutius. (If you're thinking about working for Manutius, btw, don't. Apparently he's a classic slow-pay.)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,291
    Frank? Sure, I remember Frank, his dad was our gardener ;-P
  • Advantage Lozos.
  • I don't know how it remains profitable, but it's my understanding from those who are much more familiar with Eye's business (than any of us here) that it is indeed well in in the black. I was glad to hear it.
  • I give them a year.
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 273
    Governmental grants for "the arts" and a gaggle of wealthy benefactors.
  • joeclarkjoeclark Posts: 123
    I criticize nearly everything about Eye, but never the cover price (35 bucks!), which in all likelihood actually represents the cost of production. It was at the feet of the dapper Roger “Colon-Space” Black (now completely unfollowed) that I learned how important cover price is in magazine economics. Any unreasonably inexpensive magazine – that’s most of them – is paying you to buy each copy. Eye, like Fantastic Man and Aréna Hommes +, charges what it costs.

    And of course Stewf always has more inside information than anyone else. Eye, like FontFont, has never been stronger, and we have always been at war with Eastasia.
  • When Eye's done with its gaggle of wealthy benefactors, can I borrow them?
  • Can we please form an orderly queue?
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