An Idea Made Reality: Off/Script's Origins
The inspiration for Off/Script came from a few places.
First, it came from an artist.
It was Spring 2023 when digital artist Maalavidaa, a good friend of ours, dropped a collab concept on social media that merged her colorful art with a 1996 Retro Nuptse North Face Jacket. The puffer was the result of a Midjourney prompt later merged with one of her art pieces via Photoshop.
The post went quite viral, reaching hundreds of thousands of feeds worldwide, including ours.
The comments section: “Ohhhhhhh take my 💰💰💰💰🤩”, “Oh 💯 without hesitation”, and “This would be the easiest purchase of my life”, reflects quite perfectly how we felt when seeing the post. Like thousands of others, we didn’t want this piece - we needed it.
Emotions and art are deeply intertwined. This is true for all forms of art, but for some reasons, digital arts seem to magnify this relationship. The merging of art and technology is one that has created amazement, fear, anger, and disruption - often all at once - for generations.
Tools like Photoshop (which Maalavidaa used in part here) have been criticized for compromising the authenticity of photography, but they birthed modern visual editing. Social media platforms came with thousands of flaws, but they gave a place for anyone to be seen. NFTs created an unprecedented speculative bubble, but they opened the door to an economically viable future for independent digital creators. And today, generative AI is raising concerns about copyright and artistic originality all the while offering the prospect of a future where anyone can design remarkable things in just a few minutes. With this latest industry transformation, AI pushes us to ask louder than ever before: “does something have to be hard to create to be beautiful?” and “is it art, if it's drawn by a machine?”.
Those are complex questions. Their answers live in the space of beliefs, somewhere on a spectrum. For us, when we saw Maalavidaa’s post, the question was simpler and arguably more pragmatic: will this concept ever come to life? The answer was a disappointing, but predictable, “no, it will not”. Unless we did something about it, Maalavidaa’s piece would remain in the realm of pixels, not atoms.
And right there was born an opportunity, or at the very least, the recognition of one (in quantum physicist Schrodinger’s terms, both would be the same thing, but let's not get carried away).
So the second place where Off/Script came from was the recognition of an opportunity. In an era where social media magnified creators’ voices to millions of online communities, the rise of DTC elevated agile manufacturing and on-demand production for smaller orders, and AI is now broadening the universe of individuals capable of conceiving amazing designs, we saw an opportunity to create the enabler that will bridge these dimensions and empower creators to seamlessly transition their ideas from concepts to products, achieving both artistic and financial freedom along the way.
The realization of this opportunity also came at the right time for us.
Prior to launching Off/Script, our talented team of developers, creatives, and data scientists had just released another flagship product in the user-generated content space: the largest metaverse (read here: 3D immersive media) search engine ever built called the Lighthouse Portal. When Maalavidaa’s post hit our feeds, the Portal had been released a few months ago and was serving thousands of users across the globe. We were internally starting to zero in on what our next product release should be.
One of the many things we learned through building the Lighthouse Portal is how powerful user-generated content and community-driven commerce are. As such, the opportunity of enabling creators to take their ideas from the digital world to the physical one immediately resonated with us. After all, bringing people from the physical world to the digital one had been our core focus for more than a year. It immediately became clear to us that both Off/Script and Lighthouse were opposite ends of the same bridge, each traversing it from a different direction.
Finally, to wrap up this post on where Off/Script came from, there’s one last place that really counts: the beautiful town of Montreal, Quebec.
Montreal being at the epicenter of visual arts with companies like Cirque du Soleil and Moment Factory, fashion with companies like SSENSE and Dime, and AI with researchers like Yoshua Bengio and groups such as the MILA, we found ourselves in the best place to pursue Off/Script’s vision. It is also where our amazing team composed of Ben, Gate, Agz, Alex, Fel, Kait, Vince, Mig, PL, JF, Milton, Robin, Amrit, MJ, Mathilde, and Ju & I is based. It’s a special place, full of creativity, openness, and opportunities.
In times like today, when the privilege to dream big about the future - and go for it - is not granted to everyone around the globe, we ought to be grateful for the land of opportunity where Off/Script originated. We’re proud of our roots, and this is probably why we decided to name our website offscriptmtl.com, highlighting our mtl origins right in the url (it might also a little bit be because offscript.com was already taken by a 12th century Germany-based printing company with a clear taste for modern UI, but let's keep that silent for the benefit of the story ;))
This is it for the origin story of Off/Script. If you want to be part of our journey, download the app
From Montreal with love,