SOFA is a digital magazine for the iPad that tells compelling stories about people from all over the world.
A bike trip around the world, New Year's Eve in Bangladesh and hitchhiking from Germany to Istanbul: SOFA is about capturing inspiring experiences through storytelling, in a digital format. It's a magazine about and for people who want to see the world from a new perspective, to get a deep understanding about other cultures. We draw our inspiration from Couchsurfing, a social network that helps travelers meet locals, have real conversations and make friends for life - all for free.
We already created a print prototype and are excited to bring it to life on the iPad, to create high quality image-rich content that explains, explores, and entertains. We'll also produce a pdf for those of you with e-readers.
SOFA has 4 main topics: couch-surfing, travel, cultural exchange and lifestyle. Couch-surfing articles focus on the community. One might be about how to be a great surfer, for example. Travel and cultural exchange are about sharing experiences from other places and people. These might include an article about living in Bangkok or surfers comparing the stereotypical German facial expression. Lifestyle delves into the pleasures and challenges of being on the road - recipes for exotic cuisine are in order here.
We create, edit and curate original stories, photography, art and interviews, collaborating with people we know from all over the world. The magazine is based in Munich, but we’ll produce it in English, in order to reach the most readers.
How are you going to do that?
We’re designing the magazine for the iPad, so we can include beautiful photos, video, illustrations, animations, interactive maps and information.
The first collection will be funded by this Kickstarter campaign, which will
allow us to build a structure for the magazine and establish a fan base with
all of you lovely people. If all goes well, the magazine will continue monthly afterwards, funded by sales and support from ethical, travel-friendly and relevant companies.
Who are you anyway?
The team is made up of of 3 designers; Jessy Schmitt, Rachel Simpson, and Sophie Wopperer. We’re all avid couchsurfers and experienced travelers, and we love to host visitors from all over the world. We’re based in Munich, Germany, in case you’d like to visit.
Jessy is an experienced communication designer and art director with a passion for photography. She has hosted over 100 couchsurfers and is the project founder. Rachel is an interaction designer and self professed nerd, with an obsession for all things tech, usability and motion. Sophie is a designer specializing in illustration and handmade collage images. She’s also bubbly as all-get-out. That’s us!
What will you do with my money?
We’re asking for funding for the production of the first digital issue of the magazine, which includes creating more content, curating the stories, photographs, art and interviews from others, designing the layouts and interactions, and building the digital product. It will also help us cover hard costs, like software, development, and fonts. We’ll use this first issue to establish a reader base that will let us continue publishing regular collections.
What's in it for me?
We’ve put together a selection of fabulous rewards for our backers, including handmade and digital rewards and special content from us, the project creators! Take a glance to the right for more details on all our rewards!
What if I don't have an iPad?
We want everyone to have access to SOFA, so we're more than happy to send you a pdf of the full content, as well as a slimmed-down version for e-readers. We'll ask you in the survey about this, so we can make sure you get the ideal version(s)!
When can I have it?
We plan to release the first issue at the beginning of 2013!
We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com, in either English or German.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Once we successfully (fingers crossed!) complete the Kickstarter campaign, the process of creating and delivering SOFA will begin. We're really excited to get the first issue into your hands, so we've carefully considered each step of the process in order to avoid any hiccups.
1. Delivering Rewards:
While not actually part of the process, we know that delivering your rewards will take a significant amount of time and care. In order to ensure that we can deliver on time and on budget, we've prepared a careful plan that takes into account the creation of the rewards, costs, time required, materials, small-scale manufacturing, and of course the shipping. We're confident that everyone will have their rewards in-hand when the time comes.
SOFA is a magazine for the iPad that we collect visual and written content for. Then we design layouts in iBooks Author with input from the areas of communication and interaction design. We've gone ahead and made a number of working mockups (which you saw in the video) to make sure that we know the ins and outs of producing a design with this software for the iPad platform. We're just itching for our chance to complete and send out the full product.
3. Launching SOFA through the iBooks Store:
Once the product is complete, we'll need to work with the iBooks store to get it into your hands. We've already created an account and thoroughly researched the process, and we're confident that the hoops we need to jump through (things like creating an ISBN for the book) won't create delays for the project.
4. Future Issues of SOFA:
After the first issue, which we'll produce with the funding from this Kickstarter campaign, we'd like to continue producing future issues. Delivering fresh, new content on a regular basis will be the goal- and will include refining content sent to us by wonderful couchsufers worldwide, as well as collecting and creating our own original content. To address this, we've developed a strong network of contributors over the past couple years, including writers, photographers, artists, designers, and other creative people. We're also always reaching out to new contributors- so if you know someone who has a story to tell, then please be in touch!
5. Long-term profitability:
In order to continue producing SOFA long-term, we'll need to find a way to pay ourselves a living wage. Our strategy includes selling future copies of the magazine to you lovely folks, and finding amazing sponsors whose products we believe in who we can create mutually beneficial relationships with. In order to keep growing our audience, we're completely dedicated to delivering you the most intriguing, enlightening and authentic travel perspectives from around the world. If you have any feedback, companies you think we should support, suggestions, or ideas, we're always thrilled to hear from you! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, in both English and German.
We're really interested in taking advantage of the interactive capabilities of the iPad to create rich multi-media content around our stories. This means we'll be including (on top of really amazing stories and photos, which are the core of the project) video, audio, and interactive pieces as well. What we're using to build SOFA is called iBooks Author, which allows us to achieve the level of interactive app for a device, while not needing to code an app (which would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.) That means we get to spend all of our time collecting and designing compelling story experiences with beautiful, visually rich content.
From this platform, we'll be able to produce a pdf for people who have no iPads and a pdf format appropriate an e-reader, or convertible to an e-reader format for those who are interested in reading the stories on the way to work, for example.