Offscreen issue 8
Delivered to Stack subscribers in May 2014
Maker of Offscreen (I publish, edit and design the whole thing).
What is Offscreen?
Offscreen is an independent magazine about people who use the internet and technology to be creative, solve problems and build successful businesses. Captured in enduring print, it documents stories of creativity, passion and hard work that enable our digital lifestyle.
What makes it different to the rest?
Who’s ‘the rest’? 😉 I think Offscreen’s content is quite unique as a printed publication. Through the tactile medium of a magazine it offers insight into an industry that largely exists in an ephemeral environment.
Through its format, it encourage us to put our iPads down, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a high quality read the old-fashioned way. Reading it offline, in a distraction-free environment, allows us to step away from the digital context and muse on the fast-paced world of bits and pixels from a more perennial angle.
Who makes Offscreen?
I do. I used to design websites myself, mostly as a freelancer for clients in the US, Germany and Australia. At one point, the notion of legacy (well, lack thereof) in our digital world left me longing for more. I wanted to produce something that existed in the real world. (I also wanted to finally show my mum what the heck I was doing sitting in front of a screen 10 hours a day. Old folks don’t take digital jobs seriously, it seems.)
The first issue of Offscreen was very much an experiment. I had never produced anything in print before, so I sat down and tried to figure out how to put together a magazine — by trial and error, really.
Who reads it?
Offscreen’s readership consists largely of people working in digital — designers, developers, founders — but with every new issue I find that folks outside the web community, from baristas to architects, are getting a lot out of the stories in the magazine. Although our content is all about how people use technology and the web to achieve a certain goal, the lessons learned from failure and/or success along the way apply to pretty much every profession. So I think it works similarly as a source of inspiration for makers and creatives from all walks of life, whether you are interested in tech or not.
Why do you work in magazines?
I’m asking myself the same question most of the time. It’s certainly not an easy industry to be in, especially if you’re trying to make a living with it. I think I live off the feeling I get from unwrapping the first copy that comes back from the printer with every issue. It’s the ‘you made this thing a reality’ moment that keeps me going (unless I screwed something up).
The idea that thousands of folks across the globe share that experience of unwrapping their own copy is empowering. I feel very lucky to have an amazing bunch of readers that send in the most heartfelt feedback.
Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
Not much. Being a one-man publication, the magazine really is a full full-time job. Don’t forget that besides the magazine itself, there’s the website, sales, stockists, support, social media etc. to take care of.
What would you change about Offscreen if you could?
Mh, that’s a very vague question. Given the same, less or no constraints? Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. I’d like to see more essays and sometimes better quality photos. It’d be great to have a small team to share some of the workload and brainstorm some new ideas, but given the financial constraints, none of that is going to happen any time soon. So it is what it is.
Where do you see Offscreen in five years?
You know, I’m wondering that all the time. Maybe not even five years – I’m wondering where it’ll be next year. The web industry and the people working in it are in constant flux. Having concentrated on just one idea/brand/product for more than two years now already feels like a lifetime. It’s difficult to stay focused and not be sidetracked by opportunities that present themselves along the way.
Offscreen could be something I do another two, three, four years or I could stop at issue 10. I’ll make it dependent on my own enthusiasm, personal circumstances and the feedback I get from my readers. One thing is certain though: before the product loses its edge and I get the feeling that I don’t add valuable food for thought to our community, I’ll stop making it.