The online journal to Offscreen Magazine — for all the things that don't fit into the magazine. We also regularly publish behind the scenes info about the making of Offscreen. Why not follow along and grab the RSS feed?
I’ve just launched this year’s Web Worker’s Christmas Wishlist. Make sure to stop by and spread the word for your chance to win a whole bunch of amazing gear!
As I’m beginning with the layout of issue No7, it’s time to give a shout-out to our beloved, generous sponsors that make everything possible. As always, they deserve a big ‘Thank You’ from all of us, so please take a minute and quickly thank them with a simple tweet or say ‘Thanks’ the next time you bump into one of their team members at a conference.
A few shots from my tiny stand at last month’s Web Directions South in Sydney. I had a blast meeting lots of familiar and new faces from the Australian web community. Once again a big kudos to Maxine and John for putting on a great show!
Photos by Chris Gleisner
Thanks again to everyone who made it to my talk in New York on Tuesday night. I get so much out of these talks thanks to your generous and kind feedback before and after the talk! Hopefully I will catch some of you during Brooklyn Beta this week.
Also, again a huge ‘thank you’ to the great team at Harvest for providing a well equipped, beautiful space and free drinks. Their office is fantastic and I was told that they welcome similar events, especially if they are not directly related to the tech industry. In fact, Harvest is turning part of the space into a co-working space for creatives called Harvest Hive. What a great idea to open up a dialogue with folks in other fields to mix it up and keep things fresh. I love this community.
Photo by Katie Chen.
Great looking display by our Tokyo stockist Uguisu. Make sure you stop by when you are in town.
Photo by Brian Henriquez
Offscreen has been an experiment for me from the beginning. For most of my readers the incremental changes aren’t very obvious but the mag has evolved quite a bit over the last six issues, visually and editorially. Although we’re only up to issue number six, this experiment has been occupying my mind for at least two years now. It’s the longest I’ve ever focussed on just one thing. If I learned one lesson, it’s that focus is hard, really hard.
The more I speak to my readers, and the more feedback and suggestions I receive, the more I try to imagine how the magazine should or could evolve in the future. Albeit the impact our work has across all aspects of modern life, comparatively, our industry is still quite a small, geeky bunch of tech people that — to be absolutely blunt — easily finds itself caught in an echo chamber of retweets and shared opinions. As a publisher I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to escape this circle and examine what we do from a different angle.
Attending XOXO was refreshingly different in that way. I think one of the reasons why people really enjoy XOXO is that it offers the right mix of people who create technology and those who use it in creative, unexpected ways. The former wants to build the fastest, most usable video platform possible, the latter utilises it in a uniquely creative way to realise his/her idea. I think as an industry, we can learn from both. We’re often too consumed by the technical aspects of our work. We pride ourselves in creating the most beautiful iPhone app, but rarely do we go beyond the creation process. Because we believe our work stops there.
With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about introducing some changes to Offscreen.
The current premise of the magazine is to show the human side of websites and apps, to explore the personal stories of the creators of digital products. My proposed change would open this up a bit to include not just their creators, but also those who use these products to do innovative, successful or simply fun things:
“Offscreen is a magazine about people who use the internet and technology to be creative and solve problems. It explores the human stories of our digital culture.”
This does not mean that I would stop interviewing/featuring designers, developers or founders. Rather, I would mix it up with people doing innovative work in other (digitally driven) areas such as gaming, online journalism, research, art, pop culture, etc. Simply put, I’d like to a) provide more food for thought and inspiration that exists outside of the developer/designer niche and b) make our geeky industry more accessible and approachable to a larger audience. More than once I’ve heard people describe Offscreen as a “mag for web designers”. To me (and to you, I hope) it’s much more than that, and I think expanding the magazine’s reach would help give it more substance.
As part of this change, the designer in me also wants to refresh the visuals of Offscreen (i.e. typography and layout). I know, I can totally understand that most of you dislike the idea of breaking the collection on your bookshelf once again. And this is definitely a decision I wouldn’t make lightly. Yet, we’re all preaching constant iteration and change as a positive thing, so why not do this with a magazine if I think I can make it better?
So, having said all of the above, this is very much just ‘thinking out loud’. I have procrastinated about making this thought process public, because (of course) the initial reaction to change is usually negative. Please, if you’ve read this far, take another two minutes and send me your feedback, concerns and ideas. You’re part of this thing as much as me and I welcome any thoughtful comments.
I guess what I’m trying to get at boils down to one simple question: do you trust me to make Offscreen different/better?
I’m so grateful that Offscreen has a small, yet very passionate following and people always ask me how they can best support the magazine and secure future issues. This is how.
This probably applies to pretty much any indie publication out there, so please share.
Really happy to announce that I’ll be giving a talk about the making of Offscreen in New York on October 8th, kindly hosted by Harvest (literally, at there office in the Flatiron District in Manhattan). Seating is limited, so make sure you RSVP early. There’ll be some free beer and you can pick up a copy of the latest issue that night too! It lines up perfectly if you are in town for Brooklyn Beta that week, so come in a day earlier and say hi! RSVP here:
Photo by Ben Fredericson
Another (final) quick update on our first fundraiser campaign with Watsi in March this year: I’ve just been notified via email that all of the patients we funded have successfully finished their treatment!
Ruth, the girl from Tanzania whose medical care you funded on Watsi, received surgery to enable her to walk without pain. Ruth’s doctors say she “looks forward to being able to walk properly without feeling pain and eventually start going to school.”
Ngaikiinyi, the young farmer from Tanzania whose surgery you funded on Watsi, is expected to make a full recovery and regain the ability to walk normally. “He is very happy and can’t wait for the casts to be removed to start exercises,” Ngaikiinyi’s doctors write. “Ngaikiinyi is looking forward to doing more at home (like herding his father’s cattle).”
Abezash, the girl from Ethiopia whose surgery you funded on Watsi, will be able to pass stool normally thanks to your support. “Abezash’s treatment has caused much joy with the family,” our medical partner writes. “They are happy that she will now be a normal child.”
Love getting updates from Watsi. Keep giving folks!