Commercial Art, with different titles over the years, claimed to be the only British monthly magazine covering design until the Council of Industrial Design began to publish Design in 1949. For most of its existence it was published by The Studio Ltd. whose founding family, the Holmes, were to be actively involved, from grandfather to grandsons. The Studio Ltd were already publishing art and design related magazines (The Studio from 1893 and The Studio Decorative Yearbook from 1906), when it decided to plunge into the vulgarity of ‘commercial’ art, buying up an existing magazine with that title in 1926. For most of the rest of the 1920s and into the ‘30s concentrated on the graphic arts, but increasing in the late ‘30s it’s focus shifted to industrial design. The shift was acknowledged by title changes, first to Commercial Art & Industry and to Art & Industry.
In 1957, with death duty problems, the family were forced to sell to The Hulton Press. Although the Press made a brave effort to update the look and content of the magazine, with the arrival of Design and the turmoil of Fleet Street at the time, the magazine became unviable and was closed in 1959.
Commercial Art recounts its history of nearly 40 years and its mirroring of British design over that period.