RAW – The Unprocessed, Unfinished, Unpolished
A truly beautiful concept for the latest zine, that I was selected to be a part of.
Why a Zine?
Let me define what this brilliant concept is and how it came to life. A zine is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, it is an unconventional self-published magazine (hence the term zine).
The Goal of A Zine is Expression and Creation
When creators Isabelle and Ariane, came up with this idea the goal for them was to dive into cool concepts and create a deep connection with the community. This led to creating the ‘Ottawa Design Club’ and the zine was the perfect way to empower the artistic community.
Isabelle has been the lead designer and brand strategist for both my website and my book, Mysteries in Colour™. A book filled with 24 inkblots created with intents and curated for those who were seeking a mindful practice to complete with their own perspective and vision.
The Perfect Fit for RAW
An inkblot was chosen as one of the curated pieces for RAW – Zine 0003 and it fits in perfectly with the concept. I loved sharing the space with other creatives of this edition.
I’m curious to know what you make of the theme RAW: unprocessed, unfinished unpolished.
Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common
The Behind the Scenes
The idea of creating a zine came to use after seeing all the amazing artwork from our community during the quarantine lockdown. We felt compelled to document this by creating a repertoire of these creations in a printed format. This is how zine 0001 – Quarant-Zine was born.
Looking back, we really had no idea what this project would become. We just felt passionate about the idea of creating something tactile in a world that was suddenly 100% digital. As the world fell apart, we wanted to have some fun, we took an experimental approach with our first issue and were prepared to fail. To our surprise (and joy), the zine sold out very quickly and we were hooked!
We don’t remember exactly when or how the theme of RAW came to be but after releasing our bubblegum pink zine 0002 – Pop Culture, we knew we wanted to do a complete 180. We like to keep our audience on their toes and we don’t want to be predictable. We also wanted to be a bit more vulnerable and get to know our community better. We took risks and we were bolder with our choices. We learn so much from each issue we love to push ourselves. Every new issue becomes our favourite!
I always wanted to work on an editorial project that offered multiple meanings. I wanted to create the opportunity to work on a project that marries my biggest passions; design, visual arts, branding, and networking. I perceive the zine as a mini portable exhibition where you can discover new talent at the same time as discovering the multi-faceted theme that is presented in each issue.
There is way more than meets the eye that goes into making a zine. Of course, there are all the logistics like finding sponsors, getting printing quotes, social media marketing, text revisions, etc.
Conceptually there’s a lot of thinking that goes behind each little decision. For every call for submissions, we need to define a theme and give it an angle. Once we get the applications, we need to curate the content and see if the artwork creates interesting narratives. We often look for dualities and multiple meanings which we also try to render via the visual of the zine itself. That’s why we alter the grid design every time to enhance the theme (and add some easter eggs too).
I can’t wait to see where this endeavor takes us. So far it has already brought us so many cool opportunities!
What can I say, working on this zine is an absolute dream! It’s the type of project I’ve always hoped I would have the opportunity to design so I sometimes have to pinch myself a little bit.
Designing zine 0003 was especially fun! Transitioning from our super-polished bubble-gum pink design to a theme of Raw and imperfection pushed us to play with textures, hand-drawn and hand-painted elements. It definitely forced me (in a good way) to try new techniques and work outside my comfort zone. We even spray-painted each cover so every zine would be unique! How cool is that?!
Beyond how the zine looks and feels, the aspect of community it offers is probably what I am the most proud of. Seeing creators from all levels of experience and from vastly different backgrounds come together in each issue is SO COOL. I love the surprise you get every time you flip a page not knowing what awaits on the other side.
I honestly can’t wait to start working on zine 0004 (and for it to become our new favourite)!