line – a journal interviews founder of self publish, be happy – bruno ceshel. he talks about founding the event, how it growed, the rediscovering of print media, the future of self-publishing and next plans for sp/bh.
we recently designed a small zine about self publishing culture and its history. we produced it (nearly) completely analogue by resizing the images on a copier, cutting and arranging texts and images manually on sheets of paper and even went through the imposition the analogue way!
zinelab is a place for independent publishing. we research handmade techniques for print publishing and graphic design by collecting and creating small magazines – zines.
we focus on graphic design, illustration and photography and we are always interested in any kind of creative exchange. our aim is to get in touch with artists and designers from all over the world, to collect and create inspiring works on printed pages.
we are always open minded for creative submissions, open projects or collaborations, so if you like just get in touch.
the term zine [zi:n] – or fanzine – was emerged as an abbreviated version of the word magazine. a zine is an independently or self produced booklet or brochure – created, written and shaped by a community of interests or even a single person. the definition zine for independent publications as has been increasingly used from the 1970s on, was first mentioned in 1946 in startling stories, a magazine for science fiction stories.
originally a zine was arranged and produced analogue and manually. without the usage of a computer and corresponding image editing or layout software the text parts and images had to be manually arranged and composed to a first so-called master version by the usage of a copier. afterwards this master version could be replicated as often as needed. the resulting booklet was typically folded and creased, then bound by staples – various other forms of book binding and folding techniques can be found too. the rise of the personal computer in everyday life boosted the possibilities through new tools like layout/publishing or image editing software and enabled independent publishers to create more complex works.
as independently produced medium with mostly specific content zines often are strictly produced in very small editions – often numbered or signed – in practice mostly under 1,000 copies. because of the relatively high costs of small editions independent publications are often non-commercial or not profit-orientated projects. sometimes production and distribution costs can exceed the proceeds of a sale, and even the earnings will often be used for follow-ups.
design agency die krieger des lichts from nuremberg (germany) irregularly publishes an own zine with multifarious work from their network, since 2007. it contains design, art, culture and communiction from different perspectives. it is made by and for interested and open minded people, for a creative exchange, for inspiration and sharing.
the result of our latest workshop event, the zinefactory #3 in cologne-ehrenfeld is now available in our shop! have a look at some nice previews — the zine contains a few interviews and photography from cologne (köln) – ehrendeld, a creative quarter with an emerging fashion scene!
stereoplastika is member of zinelab and is also running his own publishing house, trineo editions. he’s from madrid / spain, graphic designer and illustrator and this zine is a nice collection of some of his excellent recognizable geometric drawings. have a look at the video review and don’t forget to grab your copy via
no.zine is an independent arts zine, released in series and featuring a variety of young artists, designers, writers, photographers and illustrators. each issue is conceptually centred around it’s issue number.
curation, illustration, design and art-direction by patrick fry with the help of many great contributors.
we really appreciate this project!
for the second time in a row the Warriors of light – german agency die krieger des lichts – offered a platform to talented creative people for the second time. the goal was to offer a possibility to realise and publish their free works. no requirements, no restrictions, only space in A2 format and two print colours were available to the contributors. resulting in 28 visual viewpoints from different genres – graphics, typography, photography, illustration – created by 22 design personalities from Nuremberg, Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Bonn.
the invention of book pressing techniques resulted in an increasing amount of independent publications such as small brochures, pamphlets or handbills. independent self publishing has often been the only way for opposition members or revolutionaries to publish their own opinion outside of the established print media, newspapers and books.
one of the earliest and most important self publishers, thomas paine, published pamphlets like the extraordinary common sense with massive influence on american history. he criticized social grievances like slavery and expressed thoughts on american independence in different publications before he proclaimed the american independence as a democratic nation and introduced the term united states of america in common sense. the publication was sold over 500,000 times – to nearly a fourth of the american population at that time.
another early example of self publishing is a paper by benjamin franklin who created a literary magazine for mentally disabled people in a hospital in pennsylvania for both the patients and the employees – this can be understood as a first real ancestor of today’s zines. franklin’s publication is already very close to the philosophy of independently providing material in the form of images and/or texts to a small, specific audience.
the concept of zines is rooted in the amateur press movement, arising in the subculture of science-fiction fans in the 1930s. the first fanzine publishers were searching for a space for their own short stories and so started printing their own magazines.
in the 1970s zines became part of the punk movement – starting in the u.k. and u.s.a. they soon spread into other countries. thanks to lower copier costs it was a small step from creating gig flyers to exploring fanzines. the visual aesthetic of the punk zines characterized the whole subculture: several album covers, band logos and tour posters were created on xerox machines and have even influenced today’s graphic design and typography. in the 1980s the magazine factsheet five grew to an important network of zine publishers and readers – zinesters. the medium zine became the main way for exchange inside subcultures. the riot-grrrl-movement of the early 1990s resulted in a massive amount of various new zines with rougher, partly explicit content focusing on feminism and women’s sexual identity – as a result the conventional media paid more attention to zines than before, and some zine collections were published as books.
zines today offer a broad spectrum of topics to their readers – music/band/tour-zines, science-fiction, fan-fiction, short stories, comics, lyrics, field reports or photography, illustration, art and graphic design. most zines are niched far away from mainstream and so rely on independent publication.