Things I love: zines

While corporate design is generally full of perfect grids and smooth lines, I am always drawn to the grass roots process of zines.

As soon as I was old enough to travel to the city on my own in my teens, I found the little hub of shops under Flinders St Station – and there was Sticky Institute. With high school thundering towards the shift to digital design (it was new and shiny at that point), finding somewhere that celebrated “doing it manually” with paper, scissors, pens and a photocopier was a complete joy. It was what I needed at the time.

Throughout my life, there has been a constant push towards using computers to aid design. But design is not about a computer to me, it’s about the process. Most times, that process starts on a piece of paper – notes, sketches, ideas. Then that process moves onto the computer to complete what most of you see as the final design. But in zines, the process never reaches the computer – the notes, sketches and ideas turn into typewriter stories, refined illustrations and a whole lot of collage. The technology is the photocopier.

I adore that after all of these years, Sticky still has a space in Melbourne. While I don’t get to frequent the city anymore, Sticky is always in my heart and never far from my mind. I understand why we design using technology, but there is reason in the design process (at the very least) starting on paper. The fact that Sticky is keeping design manual – design on paper – is a very special thing to me.

Photo of outside Sticky, credit: