I have received my zine back from The Newspaper club. It has turned out quite well and looks quite good on the newsprint. I think that maybe the images could have had a little more contrast, however feedback from my peers is that this works quite well (Fig: 1).
I have discussed the process of creating the zine previously (Fig: 2), however to recap, I decided to create my zine in newsprint to create more of a tangible link to the place that I am focusing my research project this module. Watford has had a significant role in UK printing, including printing all of the colour supplements for Newspapers based here. I feel that this is a great link to pursue as my work can be viewed in a Sunday supplement context.
As my intention for the Landings exhibition was to not compromise locations and spaces to show my work, I decided to focus on an online exhibition, which I discussed earlier. Owing to the nature of the online exhibition, I still wanted to offer some kind of physical object (Fig: 1).
I wanted the design to be minimal so not to distract from the images (Fig: 2), however, to maintain the link to the place, I have chosen to create the cover background using yellow, and the typeface in red, both from from the Watford town coat of arms (Fig: 3), and more commonly associated with the Watford football team (Fig: 4) and can be seen all over the town. As my images are black and white, these are the only elements of colour in the series.
The typeface used is called ‘Calendas plus’ in Bold by font foundry Atipo (Fig: 5) and is also going to be used for the landing page of my exhibition and also in the social media promoting the show. The typeface is a clear serif that links again back to newspaper headlines and Watford printing. To maintain the minimal style of the zine, the cover only displays the title and my name, and some additional information on the back as well as a QR code, which links to my website (Fig: 6). My design for the cover was inspired by ‘Out of Place’ books, who have employed this kind of cover for a number of their zines, including ‘Spark’ by Andy Pilsbury (Fig: 7) and ‘This Must be the Place’ by Daniel Lyttleton (Fig: 8). The books that ‘Out of Place’ produce are primarily about places, and those not normally photographed, so I feel that my own journey through Watford may have an audience there.
As mentioned above, I have also produced a landing page for my exhibition, which also utilises the same cover design as my zine (Fig: 9). This creates a consistent branding that should feel more professional when clicking through whilst also providing a differentiated experience other than just viewing my existing web galleries on my website. The landing page utilises a simple enough HTML coded index page that has the same typeface embedded into the page and a fade in code so that the title is not too abrupt on visiting.
After working in the successful collaboration during the week 3 zine making task, we all wanted to have something tangible and decided it would be great to print the zine out for us all to keep. Additionally, Tim suggested that this could coincide with the Landings exhibition to add value to our exhibitions.
This meant that we would need to seek a printer produce what we had created digitally. The initial version of the zine was 24 pages (or 12 spreads) including the longer fold out page in the middle (Fig: 1). The idea behind the fold out was to create something memorable and interesting at the heart of the zine, the challenge with this is the printing cost associated with creating something so unique meant that it became far too expensive to produce. We instead came back together to re-adjust the layout to maintain some of that same interest but also allow it to be printed for a reasonable amount (Fig: 2). It has been a useful exercise to go through the process of trying to get the zine printed as it is useful to understand these kinds of challenges before attempting to get one of my own completed.
I have found the process of zine making a really valuable experience, which has forced me to consider other voices in my own creative process. Working with others means that it is possible to draw on a range of skill sets that are not particular strengths of my own, which results in a much stronger outcome that I might have been able to achieve independently. This was really valuable during the editing and compiling stage of the zine making. I was also able to input some of my other skill sets to support and collaborate in the project, including illustration. In any kind of team project, there is potential for members to become side-lined, however everyone in our zine group was able to contribute something valuable.
At the very start of the week we discussed potential roles for the zine. Tim had a clear experience and background so was made team leader and was able to provide really insightful background on zines, their history and significance. Outside of photography, I was unaware of zines outside of photography. Victoria and Isabelle offered to source and create content, together with Ross who suggested that he could also picture edit, having some experience there. Andy has experience writing so offered to provide some copy and create a short text, which provided the context for the zine’s opening page. This left me to support the design and layout with support from the others.
I wanted to incorporate some illustration to create a zine with a multidisciplinary approach but which maintains it photographic underpinning through the method of remixing images. I also have a fair amount of experience with InDesign so wanted to offer my support there.
We all came up with a range of ideas initially, which were discussed by the group. There were a number of politically and topical ideas, which on balance we decided to move away from owing to the short amount of time in which to do these kinds of subjects’ justice. It was also felt that looking at the current pandemic as a subject was leading to a kind of over saturation of the topic and again in order to really do it justice, some distance would be need together with time. ‘Ginger’ was decided as the subject, in all of the ways that the word might be interpreted. We collectively thought that the process of this week’s task would be the most value, so by focusing on a word, it was a good way to explore the very different ways that it could be represented in a zine format.
The theme created an opportunity to define some of the design features of the zine through the colour scheme, and typeface. Colour theory has an important role to play in semiotics, so this it is important to understand how the colour of our zine would be read by the audience. I utilised colours that are titled ‘ginger’ from the Pantone range (Fig: 1) as it provides a quick way to input the values from these swatches into InDesign and the other Adobe software that we were using, which maintains consistency across the design. Typical for Zines to have a kind of handmade aesthetic, I felt it important that the main text and anything that we wanted to flow through the pages as a narrative would be legible and able to be picked up quickly by the audience. Sans Serif is the obvious choice for this, owing to its legibility and graphic quality. For example, Helvetica is used by a range of governmental organisations because of its authoritative way of conveying information (Helvetica, 2007) such as the government leaflet on Britain’s exit from the EU (Fig: 2). This together with images can have a fundamental impact on the reading and the narrative of the overall message. For ‘Ginger’ I discovered that there was a really great sans serif called ‘f37 ginger’ (Fig: 3), which felt perfect for the project, however this was a commercial typeface, which was cost prohibitive for our purpose. Instead, I settled for an openly available typeface from google called ‘oswald’ that had a similar look to ‘f37 ginger.’
Figure 5: Gareth Cattermole (2019) Ed Sheeran reference image.
Figure 6: Phil Hill (June, 2018) Illustration made using reference photographs
I contributed two main artworks to the zine, the Ed Sheeran illustration and the Binary Ginger page. The Sheeran illustration (Fig: 4) was created by utilising a reference image (Fig: 5) to remix and create an appropriated illustration that can be edited to change the hair colour. This is a process that I have been doing for a number of years through an Instagram account called @hell0_Philip, which I use reference and appropriation to construct images to illustrate emails sent to me (Fig: 6). I had not necessarily considered the practice inherently ‘photographic’ until we started looking at remixed photography and it would not be immediately obvious that they could be considered so, compared to, for example, Cold War Steve who creates photo shopped composites of images in order to create new meaning from them (Fig: 7).
Figure 8: 5 digit binary code to letter conversion table
The binary image is something that I was experimenting with prior to the zine making task as an extension to the Ed Rucha task. I wanted to see if there were any other ways that I could present a body of images and also include additional information about them. To do this, I utilised a 5-digit binary code system of ‘1s’ and ‘0s’ that can be converted back into the alphabet (Fig: 8), for example: 00001 would equal the letter ‘A’ in binary, which can be converted into an image sequence where each image might equal a number ‘1’ and a ‘0’ would be represented by a blank square, or coloured one. For my experiment, I used my blossom images from my Rucha response to spell out the word ‘Covid-19’ in binary as this was the underlying theme to that series (Fig: 9). The challenge then was to differentiate between letter s and numbers, so I created a different version of the image that used red squares to denote numbers, and black squares to denote letters (Fig: 10). I also produced a sourced image version of Rucha’s ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations’ in binary (Fig, 11), and a less successful version where each ‘0’ was replace with a letter, however this is quite a busy and confusing layout (fig, 12). From these approaches, I created the ‘Ginger’ binary layout using sources images and a binary code that spells the word ‘ginger’ (Fig, 13).
Ginger zine is an A5 booklet that would have a middle fold out section to feature the images of Victoria tasting ginger, which makes an interesting mini-narrative as it is folded out of the main body of the zine.
Helvetica. 2007. [Film] Directed by Guy Hustwit. UK: Veer, Swiss Dots.
PANTONE, 2020. PANTONE 15-1020 TCX. [Online] Available at: https://store.pantone.com/uk/en/colorfinder/index/acfproduct/code/15-1020+TCX [Accessed 22 June 2020].