AMA: Kai Brach, Publisher of Offscreen Magazine

almost 6 years ago from Kai Brach, Publisher at Offscreen Magazine

  • Sam GarsonSam Garson, almost 6 years ago

    Hey Kai! Absolutely love the magazine, thanks for that.

    I know the visual style of the magazine has developed through the issues, particularly in the most recent one, but a question about your general aesthetic drivers:

    Could you shine some light on how you arrived at your visual language from the concept you started with? And do you find it hard to keep that language consistent—any tips on how you've managed that?

    Cheers!

    1 point
    • Kai Brach, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      Thanks Sam! :)

      I'm not entirely sure where the visual style comes from. There are lots of magazines that influenced the original layout, like Monocle, Process Journal, The Travel Almanac, Underscore and other magazines.

      I think it was clear from the beginning that I wanted something fairly minimal that doesn't distract too much. Having more (natural) photos than illustrations, screenshots or infographics seemed like an easy decision, given that the magazine is all about the human side of tech.

      To be honest, I had to first discover and learn how to use typography in print (coming from the web). It's something that you get better at after making your fair share of mistakes.

      Consistency is always a bit of a tricky balancing act: you want issues to stay fairly consistent, but at the same time you don't want to fall into a template-like pattern that makes each issue look identical.

      I wrote this in the latest editor's note:

      This magazine is the longest project I’ve ever worked on. Having now spent more than three years fine-tuning a single product, I have developed a respect for the evolutionary process, whereby change comes in small tweaks rather than sweeping overhauls. Like most creative people, I feel a constant urge to follow trends and inspiration, to start all over with a blank canvas. But over time, I have learned to take joy in making little improvements, many of them only noticeable to the most loyal readers.

      With that in mind, and after much consideration, I’ve made some more substantial refinements in this issue, most obviously to the cover. There is also a new typeface in town, several new smaller features and, if I may say so, some really thoughtful long-form writing. But once you dive in, you’ll hopefully find that all the things you liked about Offscreen in the past remain largely the same.

      Some people say magazines have to constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant. This may be true, but I also believe that readers turn to print because they appreciate the medium as a more predictable, less erratic alternative to the ever-changing web. And so creating Offscreen remains a delicate balancing act between keeping things consistent and keeping things interesting — for you and for me.

      1 point