As publications continue to rush to the internet and apps, Kai Brach has taken an opposing view. The Melbourne-based web designer has launched Offscreen, a new print-based venture that aims to offer an in-depth look into the life and work of people who create websites and apps. We spoke to Brach about the new publication and why he decided to concentrate on print.
.net: What’s the aim behind Offscreen?
Brach: First and foremost, the magazine wants to show the faces of digital products: the people behind the websites and apps we use every day; how they work and live; their stories. We want to show the personal side of bits and pixels and go beyond a typical ‘about’ section of a website.
.net: What can readers expect to find in the magazine?
Brach: Each issue is built around six lengthy interviews with creative folks – designers, developers, founders – but we also have lots of other, lesser known people contributing and introducing themselves through various smaller features. It's an intentionally slow-paced voice for our industry that shows a more human side of the digital world. Hence the name ‘Offscreen’ – it's about what happens outside of our pixelated environment.
.net: How did the idea for Offscreen arise?
Brach: Even though there are over 35 contributors and helping hands involved in the launch issue, it's really only a one-man operation. As a web designer I felt an urge to produce something ‘real’ that I can hold in my hands and put on my shelf. I wanted to read a real magazine about geeks and digital creatives like myself, so I thought I should make one. I was getting tired of the ephemeral nature of digital. I don't deny it – I think this first issue I made for myself more than anyone else!
.net: How do you think going print-only will resonate with your intended audience?
Brach: It sounds a bit paradoxical, doesn't it? ‘A print magazine about the triumph of digital’. But I think the name says it all – the magazine wants you to take a break and get away from the screen. Most of us are glued to screens and gadgets all day, reading stuff that's limited to ‘x’ characters, in just enough time before another message arrives. Opening a magazine like Offscreen is an experience that triggers enough senses to make you stop in your tracks for a moment.
The first thing almost everyone that had a chance to see the magazine in person so far said, was ‘I really like the stock’. Often, I see people smell it. You don't get that with iPad apps. Of course, I totally see the benefits of ebooks and Kindles, but indie magazines are the vinyl of the publishing world. You buy them for the experience and collectability.