Tutorial: How to create your own Family Zine
Can you believe that Hari Raya (or Eid al-Fitr as it’s known most commonly worldwide) is just around the corner? It feels like only yesterday that the new decade had started – with many people vowing that this year was going to be their year. Granted, 2020 got off to a pretty rough start. In these four months alone, we’ve seen floods, bushfires and the rise of the global Covid-19 pandemic – all admittedly devastating events that serve to drive home the message that life is unpredictable and as human beings, we should open our eyes to what we’ve been blessed with and not take time for granted.
Yes, some terrible things have happened in 2020, but, for the sake of our sanity, we can’t let them overshadow all the good that’s occurred as well. Which is why we’ve come up with this fun little tutorial on how to preserve and showcase all your wonderful, funny, heartwarming and beloved moments spent with family via a Family Zine made from our new Lifestyle Book.
A zine (/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation of self-published works that comprises of original or appropriated texts and images. In short, it’s a kind of home-made, mini-magazine that you can create for fun and personal use or to sell/distribute independently.
Making a zine for personal use, in this case, for the purpose of creating a Family Zine is a fun way to write about all the things you find important or moments you’d like to preserve with more details. After all, a photo can only do so much. By accompanying your picture with texts, it brings the moment to even greater heights of vividity and helps improve memory recall.
Additionally, the pre-made layouts that were designed for the Lifestyle Books are incredibly well suited for making zines. Not only are they flexible and easy to personalise, but you can even choose to design your own layouts by adding extra text boxes, picture boxes or even scrapbooking materials.
Making Your Zine
Chic, lightweight and easy to share, zines are a great way to enshrine your precious moments spent with the people you love. Additionally, they’re also a creative way to better facilitate communications among the various members of your immediate (or extended) family.
So without further ado, here’s an outline on how you can create your own series of Family Zines.
Choosing Your Zine Name
Whether you’re planning on releasing a single zine or thinking about turning it into a series, a catchy zine name is a must! Like ‘Vogue’, ‘Cleo’ or ‘Reader’s Digest’, your zine titles should be succinct, to the point and represents your chosen zine topic as a whole. Since this time around your topic is centred around ‘family’, some potential zine names you could use might include:
- Family Living
- Family History
- Family Network
- [Name]’s Review
- [Name]’s Family Gazette
- Times: Family Edition
- Us Weekly/Quarterly/Yearly (a play on the magazine name U.S. Weekly,)
- [Name]’s Home
- Parenting 101
- [Name] Family Chronicles
Whichever name you decide to choose, make it consistent so that your family zine has a form of uniformity!
Creating Your Cover
If you take the time to study a magazine cover, you’ll notice that almost every magazine has an attractive cover photo and at least one cover article which receives the bulk of the attention; both in terms of design and content. For example, Sports magazines (which is aimed at people who take an interest in sports) features a design that keeps sports lovers in mind and their cover articles are focused on content that contain useful tips on how to maintain one’s health and body or interviews with a sports celebrity that the target audience might find illuminating.
Therefore, in your family zine, the cover image should highlight a topic which will be extensively covered inside. For example, if you’re planning on featuring a piece – like an interview with an elder member of your family- you could have a nice photo of them on the cover.
Some other topics of interests that would make for fantastic cover images and/or articles include;
- Fun Family Vacations
- New Family Additions (either newborns or new spouses)
- Funny stories from holiday get-togethers
- Blurbs from the editor (or self-indulgent musings)
- Advice from an older member of the family
- Featured recipes
- Memorable events that happened
- Throwbacks or comparison between life now and what it was 5 or 10 years ago.
Creating Your Content
When it comes to zines, the content images and articles are often its biggest draw. Depending on the scope of your zine, how extensively you’re planning to write about a topic and whether you’re going to be covering a singular or a multitude of topics; such as your family history, travel, cooking, parenting or pets – this process could take anywhere between a few days or a few weeks to create.
To help simplify the process, try narrowing down a few topics you’d like to include in your zine that fits in with the theme of family. Some suggestions of what you could do include:
- A full-page spread on individual family members and what they’ve been up to.
- Photo collages of special events and family get-togethers.
- A fun Q&A section that can be repeated in the next issue to see how people’s answers might change over time.
- A section dedicated to each family member’s childhood memory (a fun read for kids and a great way to learn about your family’s history).
- A section dedicated to family milestones (like marriages, birthdays, graduations).
Once you’ve got a good few topics, list out a table of content that can be included in the zine itself and start working on gathering the needed information and materials to create your content.
Pro-Tip: With the Pixajoy editor, you can explore and personalise various layouts in the Lifestyle Book to fit your content and simply drag and drop images directly onto the working canvas to see how they would look. To add in text, simply copy and paste your prepared text into the given text box and adjust it accordingly.
Zines are a visual medium – meaning that you’ll draw more attention to it by accompanying your articles, blurbs, essays or musings with high-quality images and graphics. For example, let’s say you’d like to feature a family member’s artistic abilities. Instead of simply describing it in text, why not include the artwork itself into the zine for people to admire. This can be done through either snapping a photo of the artwork or scanning the piece into your pc before uploading it onto the Pixajoy editor to be ‘dragged and dropped’ into place.
Fun Fact: With the Pixajoy editor, you can import your images from third-party storage services and drag the image icon from the content bar onto the canvas. You will have the option to upload images from your computer, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or from existing projects.
Pro-Tip: When creating your zine, tying your images together by theme, colour or style will give greater consistency to your layout. Additionally, you can also add scrapbooking items or ‘stickers’ into your zine to further enhance its overall visual appeal.
Notes on Printing
Once you’ve finished putting together your family zine, the next step is simply to press ‘order’ and wait for your project to be printed and delivered. Rest assured that all the templates created for the use of the Lifestyle Book are well suited for printing.
But as an extra reassurance that your zine comes out just the way you imagine, here are some things to keep in mind before you hit the order button:
The Lifestyle Book comes with two types of cover and content page combinations. The first combination features a cover made of 260gsm Everyday Paper and content pages that are made from 150gsm Everyday Paper. This combination is perfect if you’re planning on designing a ‘read-only’ zine.
The second combination features a cover made of 250gsm Fine Art Textured Cover with writable content pages made of Standard Uncoated Printing Paper. This combination is perfect if you’re planning to include any fun, ‘hands-on’ activity pages within the zine, like a crossword puzzle.
Depending on how you’re planning to structure the content of your zines, you will need to double-check the layout to ensure that your pages will be laid out as what you’ve envisioned.
Should you wish to, you can incorporate full-bleed photos into your zine. Full bleed is a printing term which basically means that something can be printed onto a page from one edge of the paper to the other without the appearance of the standard ‘white’ or empty borders.
In conclusion, zines are a fun, creative and entertaining way to catch up on all the family news that has happened (and to put all the content from your family group chats to good use!). By creating your zine through Pixajoy and by using the Lifestyle Book as a base, you’ll surely be excited over the results. Whether your zine is a one-hit-wonder or something you’d consider turning into a series, the Lifestyle Book and its templates are a great starting point to explore this new, creative outlet.