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!