Monday, 31 January 2011

Zines : A Graphic Exposition : Part II

Now i'm continuing with the zine project that I talked about the other day. I explained what a zine was, when they were first invented, how they differentiate from magazines & showed an example of a popular zine in the media. And I called it simple before. Well it seemed simple then to be honest. But now i've got a lot more to look into, which I will be doing over several posts over the next number of days, and by doing this, I hope to cover most of the key areas in zine materials, techniques & processes. Today, I will be looking into other zines that have been made & targeting points about them, like why were they made? What/who was the intended audience/market? What is the plot/story in there, if there is any at all? Is it popular? Is there any consistency between issues of the zines and other zines? All these questions (and maybe a few more if you are lucky) will be answered over the next few days and week(s). And hopefully they will give me so guidance on how to create my own zine for the ongoing project. Well, best get on with it then. 

Ok so last week I started looking at the zine 'Maximum Rock N Roll' (or MRR), and I shall use this zine to help me structure my information on, not only this zine but others when I come to researching them too. 'Maximum Rock N Roll' is one of the most distributed and popular zines in the world, and it seems to really affiliate with the punk rock scene, the same kind of scene when the first zines were created & distributed, and I believe this where it originates from too. It is definately one of the most important presences in punk, as it has a wide-range of coverage in getting and showing stories, and it has also been a constant and ideologically influential presence in the ever-changing punk community. It is a monthly zine, so a new issue comes out every month, which is useful to know; so some zines are like magazines how they are distributed around the globe, though a zine's distributors are obviously a lot different to a magazine's. The zine has many critics on a number of issues. Editorial policy has sometimes been accused as narrow-minded or even elitist, causing some labels to boycott advertising in the zine or sending releases for review. The fact that punk is often considered as a movement opposed to authority and large institutions has also been an argument used to criticise the zine, which has sometimes been referred to as the 'Bible' of punk. MRR has always had a policy of not giving coverage to, nor accepting advertising from, bands that record on major labels; that policy was soon extended to bands that are "produced and distributed" by or otherwise a subsidiary of a major label. 

Here are various differing covers of MRR's zines, all based on the punk scene, primarily music by the looks of it, but, unlike a magazine, there is no consistency between these covers; on a magazine the heading, logo or name is nearly always in the same place and is nearly always the same text, font or typeface. That is the opposite here; we've got rather professional ones with good headings in a good location on the page (like the one on the bottom right of the page), and then there is one dead opposite it. Also on the one mentioned, the image is clearly the main attraction, and the image works well with the text in a clear form of hierarchy. In comparision, and opposition, the one in teh bottom left of the corner is completely different. For one, it looks like it's header has been cut up and stuck down then photocopied over. It takes up around half the page and cover, and is in conflict with the image below for supremacy on the cover. The text at the bottom looks almost hand written on the page (which may even be the case). You get the feeling that this was a quite effort by someone to create a cover, so they slapped a photo down and stuck down other bits on top of it. 
Here is my ending conclusion on these two covers. Compared to 'Right' on the other corner, the 'Left' zine cover looks quick, tasteless and easily done, right? Well, I guess it does look like that, but in actually fact, it's the bottom left one that has the essence of a real zine. Though the one 'Right' one looks far more professional and better in terms of look, style, layout, composition, grids and every design term you can think of, it looks too much like a magazine to be a real zine. Everything is to well placed. The 'Left' one is far better in term sof design as it is more hand crafted and personalised, and is everything that you should associate with a true zine. 
'left' - good
'right' - bad

Based on my own personal research, knowledge and understanding of zines so far, that is the conclusion I have come to decide on. Bare in mind this is just my personal opinion of course, and someone else may think entirely different to me. But that is their opinion and this is my opinion. If anyone would like to comment or message about their ideas or views on zines then please feel free, and I'd love to discuss it with you. 

This helps me, by showing that if a zine becomes too professional it loses all that makes it a so hand-crafted and unique. I think thsi will do for today blog wise, though this has actually helped me to build up an idea of how my front/pages/back need to be laid out.
The 'Maximum Rock & Roll' official website:

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Dead Space 2

Outside uni, and when I'm not doing graphics, I do like to sit down and play games....quite a lot actually! So I thought why not buy the new 'Dead Space' game. I loved the original ('Dead Space') on 360, and have been looking forward to this one for ages, so I traded in a few older games, and bought Dead Space 2 on PS3. The first game's setting was on a spaceship that takes chunks off planets and mines them for minerals and sends them back to Earth. However the spaceship is overrun with alien monsters and you (as the character Isaac Clarke) have to attempt to restart the ship. This time, the game is set on a city on one of Saturn's moons, and again the alien's have managed to attack on the station. Ok, geek-speak over and done with now, he's what i think so far.

I'm currently on chapter 6 of story campaign, and to start with the story is great! Lots of twists and turns, and betrayals and psychopaths...and that's not including the monsters and their appearances in the game. The detail on the monsters is amazing; blood and puss and other foul unpleasantries are still clearly seen (often leaking and pouring out) on and off their bodies, and the attention to noises is pretty ace too with little moans and groans of smaller evils and loud echoing cries of other far larger creatures, lurking in the darkness. The amount of detail on the character's suit is incredible too. The weapons are cool too....who doesn't love mining laser pistols ayyy? The physics are great and quite life-like, but when it comes to cutting, sawing, chewing and shooting the limbs off people and monsters, in most cases, the outcomes can be and are utterly hilarious; you can shoot a man in front of you (not that you would want to shoot a man in front of you's a game I guess) and he could land face first on the floor, or he could be sent straight into the wall on the other side of the room...or you could just rip his hand off his body, and his legs and....well you name you can do it really...Rest In Pieces! Voice acting is ok. The main hero, he was a silent protagonist (good guy) in the first one, he has a stereotypical american heroic voice here...doesn't really suit a man whose face you never see and who is losing his mind to dementia and paranoia to be honest. All the other character's voices are great, and as said the monsters have their say in this as well. And, though it's not as horrifying as I hoped it would be (because the first one was genuinely scary), I'm still loving the little things that make me jump, like when I'm walking down a quiet corridor and the fire extinguishers and pipes just randomly explode out of the walls for no apparent reason....but it's those loving touches that make a horror game what it is. I love being afraid to turn a corner, or look behind me in my games. Got to give the makers at Visceral Games their dues, they know how to make incredible stories and games. I'm looking forward to getting real stuck into this!

In this screen you can see how the real-time lighting actually bounces
and reflects off Isaac's armour, and all the different tones and shades of
colour used on the suit. You can also see the details of the alien's exposed
flesh and ribcage, and it is so detailed you can see skin, blood, organs, the
works on this monstrosity. Also set by colour and tones is the background,
with lots of darks and shades, creating a tense and scary atmosphere!
Graphics 9/10!

Dead Space 2 (Limited Edition) Screenshot
Again you can see the colours and tones mixed and clashing
in this screenshot. The eyes are distinct and bold (and make up
the essence of the character in promotional media) and show against
the black background. Also the tv's colour's are striking and powerful.
Love the amount of care and detail taken on this game!

Zines : A Graphic Exposition : Part I

Hey hey peoples. Getting back to the whole Community project, and where it's going to be taking us over the next few weeks. For the next part of our Community project, we have to create a Zine. A zine? "What's a zine?", I hear you ask. Well it's quite simple to say what it is.
File:UK and US zines.jpg
Examples of various punk zines (image from
A zine (taken from the word Magazine or Fanzine) is an self created, personal, almost comic like, small magazine that is hand made to the creator's own specifications. They are usually between 16-32 pages in length, and detail information/stories (mainly based on the creator's own personal opinions and expressions on a certain issue, and tries to get them across to readers, as opposed to a magazine which makes articles out of things people want to hear). Also, different to most magazines, they are usually not laid out with grid references and there is very little design made within a zine, it's more based on hand-drawn images, own handwriting, consuming colours and stuck on collages. A popular definition includes that circulation must be 5,000 or less, although in practice the significant majority are produced in editions of less than 1,000, and profit is not the primary intent of publication. So whilst being unique, they are also very rare. This is why they are heavily personalised as anyone can do anything within one. 

They largely started in the punk movement in the late 1970s. Before this, it was mainly pamphlets and leaflets that people published with. These 'Punk Zines' started in the UK and the U.S.A. and by March 1977 had spread to other countries. Cheap photocopying had made it easier than ever for anyone who could make a band flyer to make a zine. 

Maximum Rock & Roll
The example of a zine I used here is Maximum Rock N Roll, which is a long-running newsprint zine and is among the most influential punk zine of all time. I will be looking into this zine, and many others to see how they work, look and what stories they show us, and how they also keep the reader interested and wanting to look/read on.

            Simples! Well here's the next thing...we have to design our own zine that coincides with our Communities we have chosen for the previous project. I think, though no ideas have sprung to mind yet, it's all going to be about trial & error until i've found the best story for zine. Bit more research first me thinks though, so I will be posting some new examples of other zines that we have been shown, and see how they have been developed. Stay tuned...

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Community Brief - First Project of Semester B

Over the christmas holiday, we were given a brief to do, in which we had to choose a community to research and look into. Along with our own general knowledge, we had to interview community members about the community of our choice, as well as do background research, and visual documentation with images and photos. We could pick the community of our choice; it could be a local community, religious community, geographical community, working community, national community etc any community we liked or could think of.
        I chose my local and home village, Coldham, for my community. I did research on my community by interviewing a number of people, using own photography and combining that with my general knowledge and internet based information. Then came a report we had to right about our communities, and use it to help us develop a larger and broader understanding of our community as a society. Now, we have a new project based on our community and research used/taken for it. We have to use our rearsch and information to create a Zine. I will be explaining and show what a Zine is in my next post. 

First post - Testing testing...>

first post - just checking to see if it works. Hoping to get into this blogging thing, never thought to much about it before, but it';s a good way of show what i'm thinking and it's also something constructive for me as well. I'll be posting uni work that i've recently done and the work i am doing, and any feedback will be welcome. So, if it works in future, please enjoy :)


Hall of Design