Produced in Prague, Soffa Magazine typifies the renaissance of independent publishing having originally started as an online lifestyle blog. The bi-monthly publication is both beautifully designed and rich in content with an editorial policy embracing all facets of a contemporary lifestyle including travel, interiors, fashion, food and people. The emphasis on brilliant photography is one of the Soffa’s standout characteristics with many of the shoots’ adopting a unique and even offbeat style. The images consistently catch the eye especially when they bleed off the edge of the pages without frames or borders; the paper itself is also worthy of note as 150gsm PianoArt stock is used throughout with matching 300gsm perfect-bound covers combining to create a luxurious, textured touch. The ink seeps deep into the thick, soft paper giving the images exceptional depth and clarity even for those taken in monochrome; stunning colour double-page spreads of a single building or landscape also vividly illustrate the advantages of opting for a high grade material.
Like many other titles, I first discovered Soffa in Magalleria, an inspiring shop dedicated purely to magazines located in the heart of Bath. Ferociously independent in ethos, the spirit of Magalleria is in harmony with vast portfolio of magazines on display and increasingly serves as a hub for those of a creative, artistic or literary mind-set. This same outlook predominates within every edition of Soffa with each issue given a general theme be it beauty, music, time, or in the case of volume 24, Czechoslovakia, which celebrates the centenary of the countries First Republic. These themes broadly anchor each addition, but the subjects covered are less than obvious and sometimes quite quirky; the writing style too is fresh and unpretentious more akin to storytelling than mere journalese.
Supported online by additional content, blog, newsletter and shop, Soffa is a shining example of how traditional and digital media’s can compliment the development of a genuine brand. With a distinctly central European attitude, one senses the Soffa readership is something of a movement who share an appreciation of not just the magazine’s subject matter, but also the very essence of its raison d’etre; confident, urbane and effortlessly modern, Soffa is synonymous with a vibrant cultural scene that transcends continents and language. Despite barely noticeable advertising, the magazine is supported by a variety of partners who clearly embrace the refreshingly understated nature of their commercial relationships.
At the time of writing (February 2018), volume 25 has just been published and is fittingly themed around ‘the future’ with pieces dedicated to smart architecture, sustainability and 3D printed glass. Always compelling, Soffa’s status has evolved far beyond the ‘coffee table’ and is now an essential staple of my magazine addiction; check out their website to find out more and to tap into an exceptional and successful project.