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A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts tagged digital culture

Issue 16 of Offscreen magazine is now available. It’s a beautiful print magazine all about the digital industry, which I’ve been happily reading for the last couple of years. If you’re interested in online, but still a lover of great print magazines, it’s well worth a look. (I mentioned it in passing a few months back.)

The new issue is a complete redesign, and the editor Kai Brach supported himself through the redesign and rebrand phase, via crowdfunding (I was a backer). And this is how it looks:

Offscreen 16 cover

Offscreen 16 laid flat

A typical Offscreen spread

Here’s what’s different:

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.

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.

I should get my copy sometime next week. You can grab your copy from the Offscreen website (and you can sign up for a subscription, too), or buy it in person via specialist magazine stores like Magculture in London or Magazine Brighton.

Andrew Sullivan nails why traditional publishing brands struggle to bring their readers with them online, in a piece about personal migration on reading from print to digital forms:

But it takes guts to actually make the change. An individual can, overnight. An institution is far more cumbersome. Which is why, I believe, institutional brands will still be at a disadvantage online compared with personal ones. There’s a reason why Drudge Report and the Huffington Post are named after human beings. It’s because when we read online, we migrate to read people, not institutions. Social media has only accelerated this development, as everyone with a Facebook page now has a mini-blog, and articles or posts or memes are sent by email or through social networks or Twitter.

In my half decade or so of directly working on migrating existing print titles to the web, I only saw the traditional brand creating sampling, not loyalty. People may sample based on existing brands – they stay (or not) based on the people.

The best brands can become meta-brands, acting as an umbrella under which the people-centric brands (journalists and other contributors) can operate. But so many publishers – and their marketing departments – just can’t make the cognitive leap to understand that the whole structure of branding changes online. 

Farnham castle window

Mark Wilson, summing up his thoughts on last week’s Digital Surrey Google Maps talk:

Unfortunately, there are many who will not trust Google – and I find it interesting that Google is an advocate of consuming open data to add value to its products but I see very little being put back in terms of data sets for others to use. Google’s argument is that it spent a lot of money gathering and processing that data; however it could also be argued that Google gets a lot for free and maybe there is a greater benefit to society in freely sharing that information in a non-proprietary format (rather than relying on the use of Google tools).

Google has gone from one of the most trusted companies on the internet to one of the least in less than four years. I’d suggest that it needs to spend a lot less time on parachuting with Google Glass and dubious entertainment devices, and a lot more on rebuilding that trust. 

I really want them to sort this out. Google have done, and are doing, great things. But if they can’t win back our trust, their room for doing more is going to get ever smaller.

Image is of a window in Farnham Castle, the venue for the event.

The new NEXT Berlin website

So, I have a small announcement that I’ve been very much looking forward to making.
Yesterday, the website for NEXT Berlin, the excellent technology conference I attended last year, relaunched with a whole new look. Most importantly, it launched with a blog, and I’m the main contributor to that blog in the run up to the conference in May.
I’ll be blogging around the concept of Post Digital Culture – and I’ve kicked off by asking exactly what that might be
I’m really excited to be part of this. Last year’s conference was one of the highlights of my year, and it looked really deeply at the idea of Big Data and the implications that it has for the future of the web and our culture. 2012’s topic looks even more stimulating, looking at what happens after the current digital revolution… Ticket sales kick off tomorrow, with an early bird rate, and it comes highly recommended from me. 
So, while I’m still actively looking for my next full time job (and, indeed, am talking to some people about a couple of great opportunities), this is the first piece of contract work that’s keeping me off the streets in the meantime…