Katachi aims to push bar for iPad magazines, launches new publishing system

Katachi is a new iPad magazine from a just-launched publishing company of the same name that aims to offer levels of interactivity and customisation not seen in most mainstream publications.

Katachi Magazine covers design culture in its widest sense, creative individuals and social projects. Watch the video below to see how it works (or download a free issue for the iPad). It's created using the company's own publishing system, Origami Engine. The company hasn't said so far whether it's going to licence it to other firms, but from the explicit detail that it's provided about the Origami Engine, it seems likely.

The Origami Engine’s features include the ability to support multiple languages, offline maps, high level interactivity, searchable text, in-app shopping, dynamic content and seamless integration with social media like Twitter and Facebook.

Katachi Media’s publishing tool is comprised of four components; the Origami Engine, Origami Design, Editorial tool, and a Web app. The Engine itself powers the magazine app on the iPad, and uses the same code for a Mac OS X desktop tool: Origami Design. The web-based Editorial tool is designed to streamline the process of developing, creating, publishing and updating iPad magazines. The Web application with the Katachi API glues all of this together.

Origami Engine is a render engine designed and built to create interactive publications, and Origami Design is a desktop application for Mac with all the tools needed for interactive design. They’re written to take advantage of all of the core features in iOS; images, sound, video, 3d, maps, animation and interactivity are just some of the key elements we’ve focused on delivering.

The engine handles all elements, in close connection with key technology on the iPad, like video and 3D hardware acceleration. This is designed to give the reader a smoother experience and allows us to dream up new ways to use these technologies.

The web-based Editorial tool delivers a workflow for editorial staff to create and publish iPad magazines and books. It allows users to create issues, rearrange pages, manage writers and photographers, collaborate in real-time, organize assets and contracts, and more. The Editorial tool, Origami Design and Origami Engine share a central online database.

The API connects to a published website, and the iPad apps support user account creation and management, in addition to enabling updates of content on an object by object level. This is done quietly in the background, giving the reader an uninterrupted experience. Additionally we capture anonymised analytics on a page-by-page basis.

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