Skip to Main Content

Zines : Home

All about zines

What is a Zine?

 Zine table at Chattanooga Zine Fest 2014

"Zine" (pronounced "zeen") is short for fanzine, a self-published DIY magazine. Zines typically have a very small level of circulation, usually less than 1,000 and no more than 5,000, and they are made for a community defined by a unique or niche interest. Zines can take many forms, but traditionally have been photocopied. They are not designed with profit in mind.

Zines can be traced back to the 1930s, when they were popular among science fiction fans. In the decades since, zines have been associated with political activism in the 1960s, the punk in the 1970s, and the riot grrrl and alternative scenes in the 1990s. Since the 1990s, zines have been more popular than ever. By the 2010s, Kanye West and Taylor Swift were both making zines to accompany their fashion lines and albums, respectively. You can now find zines on topics ranging from travel to art to gardening to anything you can think of!

 

"Chattanooga ZineFest & Opening day of the Chattanooga Zine Library" by chattlibrary is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Making Zines

Making Zines

There is no wrong way to make a zine. From technique to format to aesthetic, zines are all about expressing yourself. Zines have always provided a place where voices that are excluded from traditional publishing venues can be heard. The way people have made zines has changed over the years: early zines were made with mimeograph machines, and by the 1980s copiers had taken over. Today lots of people still make zines using photocopiers, but many others create their zines and share them digitally. This guide will provide you with resources to start making your own zines by hand or using software like InDesign.

Making zines by hand

Really, all zines are made by hand. But here's how you can make a zine on paper, instead of using a computer.

What you need

Supplies for making a collage-style zineYou can use pretty much anything you want to make a zine, but you will probably need:

  • Paper
  • A way to write your zine, if it will have words. You can handwrite your zine, or use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to type it. Or use a typewriter, a label maker, or cut your words out of old books. There's no right way to make a zine.
  • A way to hold your zine together, if you're using multiple sheets of paper. Stop by the Studio on the 3rd floor of the Library to use our long-arm stapler if you want to!
  • A way to share your zine:
    • A photocopier to make copies
    • A scanner to make a digital version of your zine to share online
  • Optional
    • Use stickers, washi tape, paper, or photos to make collages and art for your zine. You can use anything you want!
    • Glue or tape to attach your paper/fabric/etc to your zine

"collage & art journal ideas zine" by katie licht is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Making a booklet zine

Making a foldy zine

Making zines digitally

You can make zines digitally using the graphic design software of your choice. The Studio has InDesign, as well as people who can help you learn to use it.

What you need

A suitcase full of zinesYou can use pretty much anything you want to make a zine, but you will probably need:

  • A computer
  • Graphic design software like Adobe InDesign. You can also use Adobe Photoshop, Canva, or your other design software of choice.
  • A way to hold your zine together, if you're printing out your zine. Stop by the Studio on the 3rd floor of the Library to use our long-arm stapler if you want to!
  • A way to share your zine:
    • A printer to make physical copies
    • A place to host your zine if you're sharing it or selling it online

"zine suitcase" by crafty_dame is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Making a zine in InDesign

Read Zines

Here are some places you can find and read zines online.

 

Want to read zines locally? The 4th Floor at the Chattanooga Public Library has zines that you can visit in person.

Ask a Librarian