Do you have a special interest or hobby? Do you want to share ideas, articles, and artwork with people who share that interest? Zine creation might be for you. Here are some zine printing tips to spark your creativity.
What Is a Zine?
A zine is a type of DIY magazine that is self-published, produced at low cost, and designed for a specific audience.
Traditionally, a zine creation is formed when a group of like-minded writers or artists decide to produce their work in a published format. These zines focused on specific niches and their audiences. By ignoring traditional publishing methods, they can control the content of their zine without worrying about getting subscriptions or selling advertising.
A zine might be a set of photocopied and stapled pages, or it might be professionally designed and printed. In between, there is a range of styles and types.
What Should Go in Your Zine Creation?
Zine creation reflect the interests of the people publishing them, so you can make your zine creation about anything. Here are some ideas:
- Recipe or cocktail collections
- Political manifestos
- Stories and history of your town and its residents
- Fact-filled booklet about your favorite animal, flower, or another subject
- Illustrated guide to a particular art style
- Coverage of a musical scene
- Identification guide to birds or animals
- Zine about your favorite band, TV show, or writer
As you can see, the possibilities are wide open.
A History of Zine Creation
There have always been people who produced underground magazines and flyers that were an alternative to the regular press. The word zine first came into popular use in the 1930s, when fans of science fiction magazines began to publish their own fan magazines.
These were known as “fanzines” and were highly influential. At the 1955 World Science Fiction Convention, a Hugo award went to the best fanzine.
The link between science fiction and zine creation continued to grow over the next few decades, and by the 1960s there were hundreds of zines aimed at science fiction fans. When NBC canceled Star Trek after its first season, these zines were instrumental in getting fans to write to the station and convince NBC to give it a second season.
In the 1970s, zines had a huge revival with the arrival of punk rock. Fans of the new music got together to produce zines like Punk that covered a music scene that the mainstream press was ignoring. Other famous zines of the punk era were Maximum Rocknroll, Slash, and Sniffin’Glue.
A comic strip zine called Life in Hell was also published during this time. The author, Matt Groening, wrote the zine and sold it from the record shop where he worked. Due to its popularity, Groening became a writer for the L.A. Weekly and later created The Simpsons television show.
By the late 1990s, the “riot grrl” movement grew out of punk. These zines covered music but from a woman’s perspective. The magazine Bust began as a zine in 1993.
In the past decade, zine creation continued to appear, but they increasingly had an online presence. The internet made it easy to publish online at a low cost. However, e-zines, as they are known, are not widely available in places where there is no internet access. In those areas, printed zines are still the best way to produce these publications.
Zine Creation Today
Today, zine creation continues to attract people looking for interesting perspectives.
- New Moon Girls is a zine that seeks to deepen girls’ connection to nature.
- Mondo Karaoke describes itself as a “lavish guide to mankind’s greatest art form.”
- Plastic Comb features a new artist and a new layout with every issue.
Just Get Started
The best part about zine creation is that it doesn’t have to be perfect or even particularly brilliant. Everyone knows a zine is an amateur publication, so make it fun. Start by getting together with some friends and deciding what type of zine you want to make. You can also go solo if you prefer to run a zine on your terms.
Many zines reflect an immediate interest and something that’s happening now, so it’s important to jump in.
The next step is choosing whether you want your zine creation to have pictures, photos, or just text. Who will write and edit the articles, and who gets the final say in whether they get published? It’s your zine, so you get to make these decisions.
Define Your Concept in Zine Creation
What is the purpose of your zine creation? You should be able to define it in one sentence. If you don’t define a purpose and stick to it, your zine creation is likely to range all over the place without a clear destination or focus. From day one, you should have a clear idea of how you want your zine to look and feel. Try to be consistent with the image and contents.
Think about the readers of your zine. What will be most useful and interesting to them? Once you begin publishing, keep asking yourself and your customers that same question. Find out what they enjoy the most.
Your content can be anything from articles to product reviews to reader comments. You could include essays, poems, or how-to instructions. Write whatever works for your readers.
Once you know the focus and purpose of your zine creation, you can look around for people to join you in creating it. You may already have a built-in group that started the zine with you. If you don’t, this is a great opportunity to reach out to people around you who might be interested.
Most artists and writers are happy to have an outlet for their work, even if they don’t get paid. Having a regular group of contributors provides differing viewpoints, and that will keep your zine fresh.
Zine Printing Tips
Zines come in all types and styles. Some, as we said above, are eight-page folding zines that you can make from printer paper, and others are stapled together with photocopied pages. Some people made these zines in high school or even grammar school.
These hand-stapled jobs might be fine for kids who are still in school, but you want your zine to look more polished. It does not have to cost a lot to produce a stunning zine.
The most successful, influential zines used professional printing for their zine creation. Printing is an affordable alternative that makes your zine look its best.
Layout and design: What format do you want for your zine? If you’re starting from scratch, look at magazines and zines you enjoy reading. What is it about their layout that you like?
You can find customizable templates that make it easy to design a nice layout, even if you’re a beginner.
Photos and artwork: Where will you get pictures? If one of your zine producers is an artist, they may be able to provide the artwork. They can also help you find other contributors.
Binding: The most common style for a zine is saddle stitch binding. This gives your zine a smooth edge that allows the reader to lay it flat for comfortable reading.
A saddle stitch will work on any zine that has 8 to 80 pages. When you design your zine, you must use four-page increments to get the right count.
Color or black and white: If your zine focuses on artwork or photography, you should choose full-color printing. A zine that’s heavy on text may work with black only printing.
Size: How many pages will your zine have, and how large will it be? Standard zine sizes are 8.5×11, 6×9, and 5.5×8.5, but you can choose a custom size.
Publication schedule: Will your zine be weekly, monthly, or seasonal? Decide how often you want to get a hard copy out.
Once your zine is ready to go, it’s time to find an audience. If your zine is properly focused, you already know where to find them. Go to the places where your potential readers are likely to hang out and try to interest them in buying your zine. Price it to sell, or consider giving it away to get the word out.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these zine printing tips. When you’re ready to print your zine, talk to us. We can help with affordable services.
Dazzle Printing specializes in printing multipage documents, including zines. We offer many paper options, four binding styles (perfect bound, plastic coil, saddle stitch, and wire-o), low printing quantities (a minimum of 25 copies), great prices, fast turnaround, dazzling client service, free ground UPS shipping on orders over $399, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Want to check out the quality of our zine printing services? Order our free sample packet. It contains samples of our four binding styles, including a plastic coil sample with all of our paper samples. It’s a great way to decide which options you want for your zine printing. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us.