Zine Printing
Custom, Quality

Zine printing is one of The Print Authority’s specialties. Read on to learn more about what a zine is, zine publishing, and the printing services we offer.

What is a Zine?

In short, a zine is a self-published booklet. Zine projects can be about any topic. Many are creative in nature and feature art, poetry, and fiction or nonfiction writing. They often have themes, and can also be part of a series or a one-time publication.

Zines are driven by creativity and design. Each zine is unique, and there is no right or wrong way to create one. Anyone can make a zine!

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    Step-by-Step Guide to Zine Printing

    If you’re wondering how to go about creating your own zine, keep reading! Here’s everything you need to know about zine publishing.

    1. Create and Collect Content

    First, create or assemble the content for your zine. This can involve writing, making artwork yourself, or collecting resources from friends or community members.

    If you’re going to create your zine on the computer, make sure all of your files are in a format compatible with your preferred computer program. If you’re going to assemble your zine on paper and then scan it, be sure you have printed copies of each item you plan to include.

    2. Finalize Your Layout

    Once you have all of your content, it’s time to create your layout. How are you planning to organize your zine? What size do you want your pages to be? There are no wrong answers here! Zines are all about creativity, so the sky’s the limit.

    Then, go ahead and format your zine, whether on paper or on the computer. This is where the largest part of the design process happens: which items do you want on each page? Which order of poems creates your intended effect? Which art pieces do you want people to see as they read certain stories? This is the time to decide how you want readers to experience your zine.

    3. Convert to PDF

    This step’s pretty simple. Save your digital file as a PDF. Or, if you’ve assembled your zine on paper, scan it onto the computer and save it as a high-quality PDF. This will allow your printer to easily print your zine.

    4. Select the Perfect Paper

    Now it’s time to choose your zine printing paper. There are a plethora of paper types to choose from. Do you want coated or uncoated paper? Which paper weight is best for your cover and interior pages? Your printer can help you decide what works best for your specific zine, and see the FAQ below for some pointers.

    5. Decide on a Binding

    There are many possible zine binding options. Some of the most common are perfect binding, magazine-style binding (also known as saddle stitching), coil binding, and wire binding. Your best option depends on how many pages your zine has and whether you’d like your printed zine to have a spine.

    6. Choose How Many Copies to Print

    Once you’ve finalized your design, it’s time to decide how many copies you want to print. Are you distributing your work to friends and family? Community members? Clients nationwide? All of these questions will influence your zine printing decisions. Keep in mind that offset printing is typically cheaper for large orders with few originals, and digital printing is typically cheaper for smaller orders with more originals.

    7. Work with an Experienced Printer

    Printing zines is easy with an experienced printer. An excellent printing company such as The Print Authority can advise you on the entire zine printing process, from the first design elements to the final touches of printing and distribution.

    8. Enjoy Your Zine!

    Congratulations, have your finished product! Now, it’s time to start thinking up the next one.

    Zine Printing Costs

    Printing a zine doesn’t have to break the bank. Several factors influence the final price of your zine, so keep the following factors in mind.

    Size and number of pages will affect its cost. As a general rule, the larger and thicker a zine is, the more it will cost to print, so be sure to edit your copy to avoid unnecessary pages!

    Paper choice helps control costs. Choosing a text weight paper for the entire zine, rather than using a thicker paper for the covers, keeps the price down by using a less expensive paper and avoiding the cost of scoring the front cover.

    The quantity printed will influence the price. Although larger quantities will cost more overall, like most printing, the unit cost declines with volume.

    If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. The experts at The Print Authority can advise you on making a zine that looks great and keeps expenses under control!

    Zine Printing FAQs

    In short, it’s up to you! Each type of paper will give your zine a different look. Coated paper will make illustrations pop out, whereas uncoated paper will create a vintage look. Typically, zines use text paper, such as 20 pound weight, for the interior pages and heavier paper, such as 80 pound weight, for the covers. If you want to make your zine eco-friendly, consider a paper that uses post consumer waste such as recycled paper or cotton. However, be aware that this might alter how colors appear in the finished zine.
    Zines can have a large range of page numbers. They’re typically shorter than books and novels, but they don’t have to be. They can have as few as eight pages and as many as one hundred or more.
    For layout, the sky’s the limit! Let your creativity shine, and your zine layout will follow. The two main binding options are stitching and perfect binding. As you’re deciding on a binding, keep in mind that stitching is a good option if your zine has a number of pages that’s a multiple of four (16, 20, 24, etc.) and is up to 80 pages long, depending on the paper you’re printing on. If your zine is longer than 80 pages and/or has a number of pages that isn’t a multiple of four, perfect binding is a better option. Perfect binding can accommodate a zine with any number of pages, and you can include a design on the spine. If you want your zine’s cover or internal pages to have illustrations that go all the way to the edge of the page, be sure to include bleed in your designs. Bleed occurs when you make your pages and illustrations slightly larger than the paper size so that there are no white edges when the paper is cut to size. An easy way to check if you have bleed is by looking at the size of your PDF: if your pages are 0.25” larger than your intended paper size, then you have bleed. Zine designs can take many forms, as seen in these zine design examples.
    There are many great options for zine software. Adobe InDesign is one of the best choices, as well as Microsoft Publisher. Or, you can go old-school and use paper and glue, and then scan your zine to create a PDF to send to the printer.

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