Back in the day, zines – originally short for “fanzine” – were a feature of pop culture. These self-published small print publications would often be created about a small, niche subject that appealed to a very specific audience or subculture.
Still in existence today, many zines are more polished now than they were when they began as originally zines were black-and-white and often published via primitive photocopiers. These days, desktop publishing software like Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Publisher has made it much easier for individuals to create a more professional-looking publication from their own home.
If you’re planning on creating your own zine, your first task will be to think of your topic. You will want your topic to be very specific to a small audience – zines aren’t mass-produced magazines like Empire for movies or Rolling Stone for music or Time for politics and news. Instead, a zine would focus on a very specific aspect of these bigger topics. Some examples of this include Filmme Fatales which focuses on feminism in film, Home which focused on what makes a place feel like home, File 770 which provides “news of science fiction fandom” and Music Men Ruined For Me is a compilation of stories from women explaining how men ruined certain songs for them.
To become more familiar with zines as a media form, and to help develop some ideas of your own, check out the links below.
1) Etsy – Etsy is an online marketplace for homemade materials and artwork. Clicking on this link will show you the current zines that you can find when searching Etsy, which is a great place to start for inspiration.
2) Mental Floss has a great summary of the history of zines, with links to some interesting examples from the genre too.
3) VICE has a “beginner’s guide” to making a zine.
4) The Conversation published an “explainer” which links to a range of examples and has images of some magnificent zine covers.
5) And finally, perhaps the most detailed guide to what you need to think about when you’re preparing to develop your own zine is from The Creative Independent.