Words/Meanings Zine


Head, (cover) Kaitlyn O'Connor

Head, (cover) Kaitlyn O'Connor

Span, Daniel Easley

Cross, Kelley Wiedman

Fold, Young Kang

Level: ,
Duration: 5 weeks
Category: , , , , ,
Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

Investigate the multiple meanings of a given word, generating content for a multi-page publication/zine. Design and content should explore the various meanings of the word, both denotative and connotative, and perhaps comment on related social/cultural context(s). The title of your publication is the given word.

Learning Objectives

  • to explore the relationship between meanings of messages and the role of visual form in affecting those interpretations
  • to think about type on both the macro and micro level, and to understand the connection of typography to language
  • to expand knowledge of how typography and imagery are combined in the visual expression of meaning
  • to explore the development of organizational and typographic systems related to page composition
  • to consider continuity, sequencing and pacing in the context of publication design
  • to continue to understand how to build visual and informational hierarchy
  • to utilize limited color palettes in print design, including spot color and various image treatments such as duotones. Additionally students will be exposed to: conducting basic content research, ideation methods, aggregation and curation of information, sequencing & pacing


  • (2) final assembled booklet/zine/publications
  • notebooks of amassed research and design process
  • final pdf file
  • image of final zine as object (photographed as for portfolio)


  • Thinking with Type: section 3, Grid
  • Graphic Design Referenced: section On Newsstands
  • Lecture/demo on grids system and in page design
  • Introduction to mind-mapping and brainstorming techniques at beginning stage


The perimeters of this project are flexible enough that students can successfully meet its goals at various levels of realization. Some students are motivated by ownership over content and dive into their topics, even arriving at a theme or narrative to connect the various meanings, whereas others are more straightforward in approach but still achieve a solid outcome. I’ve found this to be one of those projects that might initially elicits complaints but one that students eventually become quite engaged in and feel a real sense of accomplishment once it is completed. (It could also obviously work in or across various media.)

Related projects