Zines 101

If you’re new to zines or are just getting started, and found your way to this site, here’s a quick guide to  bring you up to speed.


What’s a Zine?

A zine is a small, self published booklet that falls somewhere between a newsletter and a magazine. Often they are half the size of a sheet of paper though they can be bigger or smaller with circulation under 1000 copies (most would be lucky to hit 100 copies!).

Zines have been created all over the world for a long time. Not to get too detailed in the history, today’s incarnation of the zine can be traced back to sci-fi fanzines of the 1930-60s. The 1970s saw the rise of punk zines. The 80-90s ushered in a zine explosion with topics including feminism, gender, sex, technology, hacking, anarchy, sexual orientation, anything was on the table. In the mid-late 1990s there was a bit of confusion as to the future of zines with the advent of the internet, hypertext, and blogs replacing print media.

There has certainly been a contraction of zines since their peak in the 1990s but with DIY and analog values taking hold and the desire to have, feel, and sense a concrete, tangible product a renewed interest in zines is definitely palpable.


Why Make a Zine?

Zine’s are an opportunity to spread you point of view, your thoughts, your experiences unfiltered to friends or even complete strangers. Even unpopular views, marginalized views or experiences, things people don’t usually discuss or even refuse to talk about can be broached in a zine. There’s no algorithm that will hide your zine from people or advertisers to appease. You choose your words, imagery, topics, approach, and promotion.

Making a zine takes time, energy, creativity, a bit of copy shop and stamp money, and a few supplies. It really helps to finish a zine you start if you have enthusiasm about your subject.

You can make a zine about pretty much anything. Personal zines or perzines are about personal thoughts and experiences, Photozines that are mainly image oriented. There are horror zines, sci-fi zines, resistance zines, music, you name it. Any topic you love or has meaning for you in is fair game.


How to Get Started

If you want to make a zine Right Now! here are a couple of zines that teach you how to make them. It’s a 1/8th page minizine on a single side of a sheet of paper. Print it out, get a pair of scissors to make a cut and a stapler and just follow the directions.

Once you have the hang of that here’s a a blank template for that style zine. Simply fill in your own content, take it to a copier, copy and assemble. This is the fastest, easiest way to make a zine. Fill it, copy it, cut, fold, staple, boom! This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more. If you want to make a smaller single sheet zine with 16 pages there’s a template for that as well!

The folks at thepublicstudio.ca also put together this wonderful pdf zine on how to make a zine for further information. It’s a really fantastic tutorial on zine making that’s more advanced that the single side, single sheet cut and fold method.


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