Alexis Taugeron

Offscreen: An Amazing Reading Experience

The sun has set now. The clock in the top right corner of my screen is showing 22:59, and I’ve been head down in some UX work for too many hours today. It’s now time for me to turn off the devices. I take a couple of minutes to put my stuff in order and write down my priorities for tomorrow in a Moleskine, then head to the bedroom.

I’m now comfortably seated in my bed and it’s reading time. I’m excited. The reason: a newcomer on my nightstand that’s been occupying the last hour of my days for about a week now. No, it’s not the last tome of Game of Thrones. Nor is it the last Tim Ferriss 4-Hour-something best-seller. It’s just a magazine. A simple magazine I came across on a blog a few weeks ago, and decided to order to check it out.

The cover, soberly titled Offscreen, shows an elegantly furnished office where three artsy dudes (wearing a beret, obviously) seem to be discussing some important issues. When you turn this thick cover, the first thing that hits you is a strong and pleasant smell of wood and ink. Then, a foreword explains you what you are about to read: A print magazine about pixel people.

A quick look at the mag’s website gives us a slightly more detailed description:

Offscreen is an “old-fashioned” magazine in high-quality print, exploring the life and work of people that create websites and apps. We want to tell the less obvious human stories of creativity, passion and hard work that hide behind every interface.

Now that I finished it, I can say this magazine was an amazing reading experience for me.

Offscreen is:

  • Gorgeous: Everything is thoughtfully designed, from the cover to the acknowledgments. High-quality paper, aesthetic typefaces, beautiful pictures, nothing has been neglected, not even the ads which are so neat and relevant that I spent more than a minute on each of the eight sponsors pages, and ended up trying one of their products. If you want to know more about the process of creating Offscreen, you can read an interview of the author here.

  • Authentic: This magazine is not about how some ninja-coders cranked out an awesome website in their dorm and became billionaires the next day. It’s about the real, normal folks who craft with passion the websites and apps we use every day. It’s about their work, their careers, but also their personal lives. Where do they live? How does their schedule look like? What music do they listen? What are their hobbies? Where do they find inspiration?

  • Inspiring: I’m in a key period of my life. Freshly out of college, starting my own projects, trying to figure out my next move. The possibilities are infinite. Now, more than ever, I’m in need for role models to point me in the right direction. Earlier this year I read Steve Job’s biography. I found it fascinating, I have a lot of respect for what he’s done, but I can hardly take him as an example. I don’t want to sacrifice my health, my personal life, my family, to build a highly successful company. I don’t want to become a billionaire, have my private jet and yacht. No, what I need is real people I can actually identify with. Offscreen is full of them; people who are two, five, ten years ahead of me, who share similar interests with me, and live a balanced lifestyle I can totally picture myself living five years from now. Reading about their lives just inspired me a ton.

After I finished the very last page and put the magazine back on my nightstand, I decided to:

  • give it to someone I know will enjoy it as much as I did

  • order the issue n˚2

  • write this blog post to spread the word and hopefully convince a few people to check it out

So here you go: if you’re a creative person, a builder, a maker, if you’re curious about the lives of your peers, if you’re looking for a delightful reading experience, check out Offscreen!