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Highlights from Shillington London’s Fanzine Workshop for Design Students

Shillington London teachers, Andy Judd and George Simkin, wanted to bring Andy’s full-time class and George’s part-time class together with a simple idea—a fanzine workshop.

Andy explained why they wanted to put this workshop, inspired by content previously created by Shillington New York teachers Emily Comfort and Marcea Decker, on for the students: “We wanted to give our students a chance to step away from the computer, learn through play and express themselves in a different, creative way—creating something instant and tactile.”

It was about letting go of the worries and judgement that design can throw at you.

George agreed with Andy’s sentiments, adding: “The idea of running workshops at the weekend at Shillington is to make sure that full time and part time students can collaborate and have creative fun together. Usually full time and part time do not get to see each other so it’s a great way to create a sense of creative community at the college—and really getting the students off those damn screens!”

What is a fanzine? A portmanteau of the words ‘fan’ and ‘magazine’, fanzines are fan-created, self-published magazines born out of the impulsivity of British punk in the 1970s. They usually feature art, reviews and articles to be read by the community, and are usually made by hand using basic technology to reproduce them, such as photocopiers or risograph printers.

Andy and George kicked the day off with a lecture on fanzines—what they are, where they came from and, most importantly, how to make them. They also touched on fanzines’ important place in the history of publishing, how they can benefit a designer now and important examples of contemporary zines and their modern counterpart—blogs and forums.

Their set up was simple—stacks of magazines, sharpies, scissors, scalpels, pritt sticks, cutting mats, day-glo a3 paper and those crucial photocopiers.

Firstly, the willing students had to select a theme. Given the width and breadth of variety within zine publishing, this was no easy task so Andy and George came up with some pre-packaged themes to point them in the right direction.

They ranged from everything from outer space to love and anarchy.

Then, things got truly hands on. The students delved into the archive of magazines, some of which dated back over a decade, to find the perfect images for their theme. The sound of scissors soon filled the air and pictures started stacking up.

The fanzines themselves then had to be made—it was a simple process of folding an A3 page into eight, labelling the pages so it didn’t end up back-to-front and collaging the chosen images and type and finishing them off with handwritten text.

These master copies were then photocopied on to bright neon paper, folded into eight with a quick cut added to make them readable and the fanzines were complete!

Congratulations to Andy and George for an exciting and successful workshop!

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