How do you layout your zine?

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    My first and so far only completed Zine I used Scribus an open source, free, multi-platform desktop publishing application. Scribes has a learning curve that can be challenging but the price is right on and it has decent features.

    Alex Wrekk’s Stolen Sharpie Revolution (which you should really read! 🙂 ) piqued my interest in cut and paste layout which I’m in the middle of for my next zine.

    Here’s me cutting and pasting up my latest zine:
    cut and paste zine layout

    How do others lay out their zines? Program or cut and paste? What programs do you use if you use them. Any tips tricks or links to some good how-tos?

    • This topic was modified 3 years ago by Darkroomist.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 12 months ago by Darkroomist.
    Kari Tervo

    I prefer the old-fashioned cut-and-paste because it’s more fun for me. It’s also easier–you can just fold your paper and paste things on in the order they’re going to be in, whereas when you use a program, you have to make sure you put the content in that non-intuitive order so it will print out right. I’ve used Scribus and GIMP and I find them valuable, but it partly turns zining into a techy thing, and that can be a bummer when things aren’t working. Plus for some of my zines, I have a bunch of random stuff that I would rather just paste on than spend time scanning and placing within a program. I tend to glue things on crooked, but I recently picked up a light panel, so I’ll see if that helps for my next one.

    Oh, and I’ve also used plain old Microsoft Word for layout for some of my shorter zines that have mostly text. It’s easy–you just insert text boxes and go wild.


    I’ve done a few computer-only layouts. The Difference Between, for example, I did as a zine, then put it out as a book, and I wanted it too look clean and professional. It’s a somewhat educational zine, so I wanted it to look like a textbook. But for most of my zines I do the writing on a computer, then print out the words, and do cut and paste layouts. A good layout is its own work of art, regardless of content.


    Of course zines are an extension of your personality in paper form. There is no set standard that applies, nor should there be. I am likely more dogmatic that your average zinester and I like to let the “form follows function” philosophy guide my design decisions. To that end, I always let the content dictate the layout. I feel it’s a good practice. Unless, you are anti “all-that,” in which case, you should do your own thing.
    For my photo zines, The 5¢ News and Instant, I used Photoshop to do the entire layout. Since Adobe and I got our divorce, I have been using Gimp with very few ill effects (though the differences between those two programs are a whole other post.)
    For my personal zine, A Long Way Down, I pull content from my notebooks, sketchbooks and photo archives. I like the text to be handwritten so run all the raw material though a word processor to spare my readers from all my spelling a grammar mistakes, and then hand write the finished articles on grid paper to keep the column of text a consistent width. I then scan all that back into my computer and use Gimp for layout.
    I have only done one zine with a direct paper master. By that I mean creating a “master” on a sheet of paper than can be laid on a Xerox machine to make the edition without a digital file. I liked the result and I will definitely use that method again. To be honest, however, I did use my computer to resize the photos so that they would fit on the paper master. It would have been really troublesome to do it any other way.


    I love using InDesign, but I was also trained to use it for layout in my professional writing and editing classes. I use it for most of myself, but I do often crave to cut and paste again. In that case, I do all the writing, print it out on adhesive paper, and then hope for the rest. Haha. Then I scan the pages into InDesign.

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