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Welcome to the new Offscreen

Posted on Mar 09 2017 in News

After some delay I’m beyond excited to finally present the new Offscreen. Some of you have received a glimpse of the revamp through my weekly rebranding updates, but for most of you this is the big reveal. I hope that in the coming weeks I’ll find time to write about some of the many changes. As with any launch, there are still lots of bugs to fix and loose ends to tie up. So for now, let me briefly list some of the many new things we’re launching today:

New look

Both the website and the magazine have undergone a complete visual overhaul. The new design comes with a lighter footprint, thanks to simplified typography (just one type family), more white space, a brighter colour scheme, and quirky, hand-drawn illustrations by Agnes Lee that add a personal touch.

New magazine specs

We made the new issue a little smaller so it feels even more like a book. Instead of the standard Perfect Binding that makes the magazine hard to keep open, Offscreen now has an open, lay-flat stitch binding that offers an improved reading experience. We’ve also broken an (unwritten) rule of indie magazine publishing and moved to a matte-coated but still 100% recycled paper for a sharper print result.

New subscription model

The biggest and most complex update is our new subscription model. Subscribing to Offscreen now means you pay for the next issue upfront and for every following issue we’ll simply charge your credit card a few weeks prior to release. It's a set and forget system. You can choose between several tiers depending on the level of support you feel comfortable with. Of course you can cancel your subscription any time through your new Offscreen account (see below). Creating the platform that powers recurring, irregular, multi-tier subscriptions was a bigger challenge than I thought and I will definitely do a more in-depth write-up here in the future. (Thanks to Dan for providing the developer chops to make this happen!)

New Offscreen accounts

To make managing your orders and your subscriptions as easy as possible we built a password-free account interface. After placing an order you’ll receive a link via email that gives you instant access to manage everything Offscreen related: view the status of all existing orders, print invoices, change shipping/billing addresses, cancel or change your subscription, etc.

New weekly newsletter

For more than two years I’ve been publishing a weekly newsletter called The Modern Desk. As part of this rebrand I’ve decided to merge the newsletter with Offscreen. The Offscreen Dispatch is the more frequent, digital counterpart to Offscreen Magazine. For a brief weekly digest of interesting apps, accessories, and articles sign up here.

New website backend

While the old website was mostly a bunch of static PHP files, the new site is powered by Kirby which has been a delight to set up and use. Shout-out to Kirby maker Bastian Allgeier who’s helped with implementing the site with our backend.

There are many other important updates that aren’t directly visible from the outside. And there are some that haven’t yet made it into this first version of the new Offscreen (such as educational discounts). As mentioned above, I’ll try to write up more detailed posts about some of these changes once things have settled down a bit.

With all these changes to the website, don't forget to check out (and order) the new issue! We have a fantastic mix of interviewees in this issue discussing a wide range of topics – from inspiring kids with a new generation of DIY tech toys to how we can prepare for a future marked by exponential change.

This revamp (of website and magazine) has been a huge undertaking. I have to admit that there were numerous moments when I contemplated not seeing it through to the end. Finally revealing everything to the public comes with a big sense of relief but also some trepidation as to whether this big investment of time and money will pay off.

Please enjoy having a look around. If you find bugs we missed (which I'm sure some of you will), please don’t hesitate to let us know so we can continue to improve Offscreen’s online experience.

I’m eager to see what you all think of the new issue and the refreshed format. As always, any supportive tweets, blog posts, Instagrams or real-life word-of-mouth is hugely appreciated! If you have any questions, please email away. It may take me a few days to reply, though. Enjoy!

A big thank you to the following people who helped make this issue and the new website happen: all contributors, sponsors and patrons of issue 16, Dan Rowden, Bastian Allgeier, Agnes Lee, Ivana McConnell, Kieran O’Hare, Michelle F., all beta testers, all backers of my fundraiser, my printer and shipper, and everyone else who supported me in spirit and by sending positive vibes via email, tweet, or postcard.