Design Feature #06

A MAN AND HIS MAGAZINE: How the web and print collide in Offscreen Magazine

Kai Brach

Written by RMM
Photo credit by June Kim and Harald Völkl

The web. A seemingly endless space made up of bits and bytes that expand with the human imagination. In less than twenty years, we seem to have transitioned almost too smoothly into this vast, new world. We navigate not using our hands, but with a mouse and keyboard.

On the other page, the print magazine. With thousands of years of history, it is age-old form that still endures even today. There is something endearing about the way a magazine is made – the choice of paper, binding, typography and layout all play a part in creating an emotional and physical connection.

Both platforms seem to be diametrically opposed to each other: old versus new, paper versus screen. But it is in a carefully crafted publication where the two meet in a beautiful way, linking our digital lifestyle to perceptive stories about the people help grow the industry.

Founder of Offscreen Magazine, Kai Brach
Photo © Mark Lobo Photography

Kai Brach is the amazing one-man-show behind the increasingly popular Offscreen magazine, an independent magazine about technology and the people who use it creatively to solve problems and build successful businesses.

Kai himself is a UI-designer turned print-publisher who edits, designs and publishes the magazine all on his own. Tired of working exclusively on digital projects, he felt a pull to do something more ‘physical’, something that didn’t exist only on the screen – something off-screen. And Offscreen was born.

Since its inaugural issue, every issue of Offscreen has around six lengthy interviews with creative in the tech and web industry. The magazine has featured Jack Nickell, founder of popular t-shirt community Threadless; Oliver Reichenstein, an information architect from Tokyo & Switzerland; Ruchi Sanghavi, Facebook’s first female engineer; Daniel Weinand, co-founder of Shopify; and Christian Reber, co-founder of 6Wunderkinder amongst other leaders in their fields. With three to four issues per year, Offscreen currently boasts nine issues that provide abstract products a real face through its interviews and columns.

Kai’s passion clearly shows in the way he communicates with his readers. Newsletters are chock full of behind-the-scenes notes; from updates on how he’s trying to make the magazine industry more sustainable for the environment (his answer: certified 100%-recycled paper, plus a small donation towards protecting wilderness habitats), to follow-up e-mailers that seem genuinely curious about your feedback.

Kai consistently seeks to reinvent the magazine and how it works. After six successful issues, Kai decided to give Offscreen a slight facelift, starting from the very form of the magazine itself. Current issues of Offscreen feature a revised layout and new typography – but perhaps most importantly – a much more diverse contributor base. The publication is also currently open to story suggestions and submissions, bringing readers even closer.

Recently, he conducted an experiment for 17 hours where people could purchase a copy of the magazine and name their price. Calling it an exercise to see how much the public valued indie publishing, Kai pegged different price ranges with detailed explanations on how much each price would help Offscreen’s publication efforts. Once again, his refreshing transparency on how every issue is made, gives it a real human touch.

It’s time to turn off your mobile phones, close your laptops and sit back with a copy of this high-quality print periodical because print is not dead. Take a step away from the one-dimensional, short-lived world of the web because thanks to people like Kai Brach, we have new voices in the print industry.

For more information about Offscreen Magazine, please visit its official website: http://www.offscreenmag.com