I think the title of this post totally warranted an exclamation point for a change. What’s not to love about zines? Concise little gems of information about a super specific topic or rant, often handmade or hand pressed, full of love and devotion. The only pure form of design? The verdict is still out on that one.
I had the super amazing opportunity to take part in a zine-making project in college and have never really gotten over it (in a good way). Pics below, as I’m having a bit of a time inserting pics mid-post on this WordPress App. For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept of a zine, it’s basically a tiny magazine (often 5.5×4.25in or an 8.5×11 page folded twice) that keeps a very clear focus on a topic. Sometimes the topic is politically and/or socially charged, sometimes a showcase of the author’s art, writing or an agenda. A lot more specific info on the history and purpose of zines can be found here and here.
Zines are traditionally handmade and circulated by sort of guerilla means, often left behind in locations where they might be “needed.” Old school zinesters would have used typewriters, Sharpies, paint pens, collage, cut outs and photocopying for primary techniques. More recently, zinesters have been busy hacking away at their Macs to produce beautiful zine works of art and many are now available on individual websites and group sales sites like Etsy. Zines that used to be issued once a month or here and there can now be treated much like a tangible blog, with home download options or online subscriptions.
Now that I’m theoretically a grown-up with a regular people day job, I don’t frequent the same places I used to and thus don’t have a chance to grab a stray zine very often anymore. But grown-up me loves Kittee Barnes’ Vegan Cook-Zines. As a sometimes-vegan, I find these super easy to digest (pun intended) and kitschy and humorous.
Over the years, I’ve often wondered if there’s a way to make a particular genre of zine more accessible to and useful for “regular folks” like me. I think the zine gets a bit of an elitist-hipster bad rap and it makes me sad for the little guy. Sure, I bet it is wonderful being held in such high esteem among such a small population, but don’t some zines want to branch out and see if they can make it in the big bad world? What if there were mom-zines and a little book of baby stories was available at your local mommy and me yoga every week? Or a monthly business etiquette zine for the busy girl in her first corporate gig? Or a zine for a new puppy owner, seasonal zine for an amateur gardener, cooking zine for the single man? I think a lot of this can be found on the ole interwebs, but sometimes isn’t it nice to have a hard copy reference manual on the shelf?
Maybe I’ll start a new zine. My last zine was a collaboration with a girlfriend of mine from way back who also happens to be a fabulous architect, and we blogged and made a zine about the struggles of women in the design world – the balance between being a hard-ass worker and a really great well-rounded girly girl. We want our friggin’ cake, man. Zine shots below. Cover art by yours truly, interior collages courtesy of the fabulous Shelby Doyle and text from various cited sources.
A collection of classmates’ zines from my college project: