So what exactly is zine printing? And how does it differ from magazine printing? For all intents and purposes, zines and magazines are the same thing. Zines are typically published on a smaller scale than magazines, with a typically run of 1,000 copies or less. Check out this Wikipedia article on zines for more information.
If you’re looking to get your zine printed, you’ve come to the right place. Publishing Xpress has extensive experience with zine printing. We’ll make your magazine look spectacular while making the process easy at the same time! Our online calculators can give you an instant quote on your printing project:
Zine Printing Inspiration
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out some of the zines highlighted in our Client Spotlights:
As you prepare your zine for printing, consider these helpful tips:
Choose a binding style for your zine. We offer four options — perfect bound, plastic coil, saddle stitch, and wire-o. However, most zines are either perfect bound or saddle stitched. The binding style will impact any photos that you have spread across two pages. With perfect binding, about 1/8 of a inch of the page will get caught in the spine of the magazine. Thus, you don’t want to put a person’s face in the center of the spread, because part of it will get caught in spine and will be noticeable to readers. It is better to offset the face to the left page or right page. If part of a person’s body gets caught in the spine, it typically won’t be noticeable to a reader. This is less of an issue with saddle stitch, but there can also be some minor distortion as well. The way saddle stitching works, a large sheet of paper is printed with two pages on the front and back. The sheets are then folded, gathered together, and stapled on the spine. The only pages in spreads that are printed on the same sheet of paper are the middle two pages and the outside front and back cover. During printing, the sheets of paper can shift a little. Thus it is also a good idea not to put a person’s face in the center of the spread with saddle stitching as well.
Most zines have lots of photos, so you’ll want to make sure that you are using good quality photos. The resolution should be at least 300 dpi and the color profile should be CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black). Cameras and phones use an RGB (red-green-blue) color profile. Since printing presses print using CMYK, the press will convert from RGB to CMYK. However, this can cause unintended color shifts, so it is better if you do the conversion yourself. Be aware that if you enlarge a photo, you will reduce the resolution. If you are concerned about the resolution of photos in your zine, ask your client service representative to let you know if there are any issues with photo quality.
Decide on paper stocks to use for your zine. Many larger magazines (think People magazine) will use the same paper stock for the cover and inside pages. Those magazines are meant to be read a couple of times and thrown out. For zines, you typically want them to be kept by the readers, so they should be more durable. For zines that are perfect bound or saddle stitched, we would recommend 80# or 100# cover stock. For the inside pages, you can use anything from 60# uncoated text to 100# gloss or matte text stock. Especially if this is your first time printing your zine, we would recommend requesting our free sample packet. We’ll send you samples of our four binding styles — perfect bound, plastic coil, saddle stitch, and wire-o. The plastic coil book has samples of all of our paper stocks and examples of gloss and soft-touch lamination. It’s a great resource when making decisions about your printing specifications.
If you are perfect binding your zine, consider laminating the covers. It will add durability to your zine. Plus, gloss lamination will make the colors pop, while soft-touch lamination has a velvety feel.
Before you start designing your zine, get a few magazine samples and go through them. What do you find appealing in each magazine? Are there any features you hadn’t considered, but really like? How are photos handled? What is the ratio of text to photos? Zines tend to be vary visual, so photos will be a large part of the design. How is color used in the magazine? Are the colors bright and bold or soft and muted?
Readers are going to read your zine in spreads, so design that way. This will help you see if there are pages that don’t look good side by side. Maybe you inadvertently added two advertisers in the same spread who are rivals. Looking for a great course on magazine design? Take a look at this online course.
Before submitting your zine for printing, have someone review the entire publication. If you’ve been doing most of the work on it, you are likely to miss obvious typographical or grammatical errors. We have noticed typos ourselves on a number of covers (even though we weren’t actually proofreading for them). A fresh set of eyes will notice many things that aren’t obvious to you.
Contact Us If You Have Questions!
We’re here to help and want you to be delighted with your zine printing projects. If you have questions, feel free to contact us by phone at 1-877-977-3779, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or online chat (our chat feature is in the bottom right corner of every page on our website). We hope to see your zine project soon!