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I'm currently in the process of writing 2 zines- Drabble Life, which is a collection of semi-autobiographical drabble pieces, and A Chaotic Dinosaur (One Girl's Love Affair With Her Typewriter).

DL is a collection of pieces typed and printed from Microsoft Word in various fonts, while ACD is written my total clunker of an electric typewriter. DL has digital pics, while ACD is hand illustrated.

ACD feels more "arty zine", and I was wondering- if browsing between a computer constructed zine and a wonky typewritten zine, which would you lean towards on the basis of appearance? Do you think either style is intrinsically 'zine'? Why or why not?

I'm also wondering if either style will help/hinder each zine in being stocked/sold/traded.

Tags: font, print, query, question, style

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I would lean towards "wonky typewritten" but it really depends on the content. I don't think either would hinder it being stocked.
Typewritten is more "old school" zine but really everything goes nowadays. And hey, I did my first zines by computer and moved to typewritten later on, so really, I don't think either could be called the zine standard or whatever.

P.S. Love the title A Chaotic Dinosaur!
For me it's not about how something has been created but how well it's been put together using that method, and I have plenty of both styles that I enjoy looking at. Illustrations are the factor far more likely to sway me.
i second this.

Vicky Stevenson said:
For me it's not about how something has been created but how well it's been put together using that method {snipped}
Thanks! It's about my typewriter :) Let me know if you'd like a copy!

star blanket river child said:
P.S. Love the title A Chaotic Dinosaur!
For my zine Carpe Noctem, I use a bit of both- I'll draw illustrations and scan them into the computer and create the rest of the zine there using fonts. The covers are usually completely done by hand, though they'll be colored on computer. I think with zines, doing a print layout might be slightly easier since you don't have to spend as much time scaling and editing images to fit and you I think you can get a better sense of how the layout will look in general. Also I like a bit of xerox blur that copies sometimes get. This is all personal opinion of course.
That's a cool system. I was looking at xeroxing my computer issue to try and kill the neat, perfect print look.

Ro- The Apocalypse Girl said:
For my zine Carpe Noctem, I use a bit of both- I'll draw illustrations and scan them into the computer and create the rest of the zine there using fonts. The covers are usually completely done by hand, though they'll be colored on computer. I think with zines, doing a print layout might be slightly easier since you don't have to spend as much time scaling and editing images to fit and you I think you can get a better sense of how the layout will look in general. Also I like a bit of xerox blur that copies sometimes get. This is all personal opinion of course.
If the content is good, it doesn't matter how you make it. I've read great zines made both ways. I prefer to make all of mine now on a typewriter just because it feels like I'm more involved in the process. When I consider zines to read, I'm usually more attracted to the typewritten ones, but I'll give anything a chance and I don't think you need to worry about the marketability of your zines based on their design aesthetic.
I did my first zine in 1992, and all previous self-publishing, with a manual typewriter, because that's all I had. About 1993 I bought, for about $200-300, a Smith Corona wordprocessor, which I used for zines/self-publishing for about 10 years, til I got a computer with Word 97, which I still use, mostly Time New Roman font. But recently, in keeping with a "low" or "appropriate" technology ethos & philosophy, I've been doing some zines on one of many manual typewriters.

When I was getting zines back in the late 80's and early 90's, many were manually typewritten. Dwelling Portably and Ab, by the Davis's, still is, mostly if not totally by necessity---they're wilderness vonuans.

Aesthetically, yes, I do tend to be drawn to manual typewriter font, and analyzing why, might be hard to do. One reason is that for me, it's "symbolic" or "reminscent" of a slower, simpler, more hopeful time in my life.

But, hoping not to step on anybody's toes, or bruise any feelings, I flinch a little at manual typewriters AND THEIR TEXT as "objets d'art". The same with "bad xerox copy". I never "aim" for the raw look, in fact, I probably try to avoid it. It just happens, which isn't terrible, but I've found over the years, the "fashion" for the "raw" look to have been so overdone, so often, it's become rather contrived and cliche.

I think for me, density, text and/or image, trumps font (within certain paramaters, sometimes I've found wierd, dense, computer fonts a bit too "loud" and unreadable, those in Voices from the Garage being a prime example). But dense text has to "say" something, i.e, be intelligible AND/OR INTERESTING, not just text-as-art or dada. Generally, content and writing style comes first, then density, then font, but an "English" (i.e. "old-fashioned") typewriter font is up there in "pleasing" and "attractive" fonts.

I like a good dense, complex, collage with my text, but some collagists are better than others, some are absolute masters---Timothy Mansheen, who's never mixed much in the zine scene, was one. Eric York was another. The best collage conveys a sense of irony.

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