Micropublishing – Collections

Bernd & Hilla Becher • Blast Furnaces • Image via C4gallery.com

Your next zine will reflect the theme of COLLECTIONS.

Not everyone has a collection, but some people collect records, beanie babies, baseball cards, stamps, cars, books, posters, houseplants, or a million different things.

However, for this assignment, I don’t want you to just go home and photograph your collection of Breaking Bad bobbleheads. Instead, think back to artists like Bernd & Hilla Becher (1, 2), Kate Bingaman-Burt, and Ed Ruscha (12, 3, 4).

You will choose an object or subject to photograph, draw, or otherwise document, and create a 20-page zine about that collection of objects, with commentary. Whatever the subject, I want there to be text and images. You will write about the things your are documenting: where did you find it, describe the context, the date/time, people involved, etc…

Text can be set digitally, but the zine should be designed by hand. There should also be some consideration given to a special production technique of your choice: a page that folds out to reveal a bigger image, hand-added color to each copy, block printing, emboss, colored paper, vellum, … something else? It could be as simple as using a different paper stock for the cover than the interior (but you can do better than that!).

Project Components:
1 Paste-up Original
5 Photocopies (with an interesting production element)

Project Timeline:
Thr Sept 28: Begin Project / Brainstorm / Collect images over weekend
Tue Oct 03: Review Images / Work
Thr Oct 05: Critique
Tue Oct 10: Revisions
Thr Oct 12: Project Due

Micropublishing: Poetry Zines

Your next zine will not be your own writing, but that of a poet. Your assignment is to create a zine that merges type and image in an expressive and interpretive way. This zine will be a poetry chapbook that synthesizes the words of a chosen poet, with your creative and expressive imagery.

There are going to be a few rules to follow for this project, but try not to think of them as limitations, so much as opportunities for expression.

  1. 20 pages (including covers)
  2. Black and white
  3. No internet images whatsoever
  4. You may print the text once (make copies, enlargements, etc. from that)

In particular, I want you to think about illustration vs. interpretation. Are the images/layouts you are creating showing the reader what they’re reading in the text? Or is it adding to the impact of the text by doing something else?

Project Timeline

Tue Sept 12 – Begin Project / Get text
Thr Sept 14 – Review progress
Tue Sept 19 – Work Day
Thr Sept 21 – Group Critique
Tue Sept 26 – Implement Changes
Thr Sept 28 – Project Due

Micropublishing: Obsession Zines


For your first full-scale zine project, you will create a 12-page zine designed completely by hand. In other words, you will cut and paste each element onto the pages separately, much like what we saw in the videos on Monday (1, 2).

  • You MAY digitally set blocks of type, but no more than a column at a time. (example)
  • You MAY crop and scale images to the appropriate dimensions, and adjust brightness/contrast.
  • You MAY NOT use Photoshop for anything more than scaling, cropping, or adjusting Brightness/Contrast of images.
  • You MAY NOT design an entire page or set of pages digitally, and then print them out, cut them up, and re-assemble them as though you had done it by hand in the first place.
  • You MAY NOT use color. Your zine will be entirely black and white. Consider contrast, texture, visual balance, and other design elements.

The theme for this project is OBSESSION. Interpret that how you will, but know that your zine should be your voice, and your point-of-view. Make it compelling in some way. Your obsession may be something completely boring to everyone else, but how can you make it interesting?

Remember the zine about the guys and their pigeons? I’m not particularly interested in pigeons, but I’m very interested in a smartly designed zine that gives me something weird to ponder.

It’s easy for these zines to become very image-heavy. However, I want you to try to balance your pages with text. Write about your obsession. And write in such a way that it engages the reader.

Regardless of what your obsession is, you need to make it relevant/interesting to a causal reader. Maybe they won’t share your obsession, but they can at least be entertained by it. For example, I think the Helvetica documentary makes typography seem kind of interesting to someone not particularly interested in design.

What is your OBSESSION?

  • Abandoned Buildings
  • Music / Your Favorite Band
  • Technology
  • Vegetarianism
  • Conspiracies ☠️
  • Sports
  • Feminism
  • Celebrities/ Movies / Television
  • Travel
  • Politics
  • Thai Food
  • The Mall
  • Art
  • Architecture
  • Something else?


Thr 8/31 – Get started / Brainstorm / Start writing & collecting images
Tue 9/05- Work.
Thr 9/07 – View progress / Discuss print production techniques
Tue 9/12 – Turn in finished zines (5 copies + original)

Welcome to Fall 2017

Hey everyone. Welcome to Fall 2017.
This is where I’ll be posting projects, links, videos, and other relevant information.

My office location is ART B20.
My email is dennis.schmickle@ttu.edu.
My phone number is 806-834-6325.
My office hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00pm-4:00pm and by appointment.

This semester I am teaching Type + Image and Micropublishing. Please download the syllabus for your class here:

Type+Image Syllabus | Micropublishing-Syllabus

Throughout the semester we will make exciting and meaningful work. If at any point in the process you are confused, stuck, or just not sure what is going on… please get in touch with me by any of the avenues listed above. I’m happy to help, but you gotta let me know!

Micropublishing: FINAL BOOK

You made it! This is the FINAL project!

And as previously discussed in class, you’re in charge. You determine the content, page-count, images, etc.

However, there are some expectations:

This project should be ambitious, creative, and a culmination of what you’ve learned not only in this class, but also in Typography, Type + Image, and Publication. Pay attention to type size, margins, and image quality.

And, of course, there should be a solid concept upon which you build the entire project. What is the story you want to tell? What is the subject you want to address? Why should someone pick up this book and read it?


Micropublishing: Feature Article


Your objective for this project is to design a feature article with the text provided by Em Dash. You will design the pages, and create/edit any accompanying imagery. When the project is due, you will submit two boards (one for each layout: opening and continued article), as well as a PDF of the layouts.

The final layouts will be submitted to Em Dash, and a “winner” will be selected to receive scholarship money from Em Dash.

Step 1: Research! Always! Once you’ve received the text for the article, you should read it. Then start researching the ideas discussed in the article.

Step 2: Start sketching. Use thumbnail sketches to consider layout ideas. How will those ideas affect or involve the kinds of images you want to use and vice versa?

Step 3: What about those images. Don’t use Google Images to find something and plop it into InDesign. Either create your own illustrations, or take your own photos, or somehow *make something* that is your own.

Step 4: Fire up InDesign to start laying out text and images. You may have to go through a few ideas to get the display text, body copy, and accompanying images to work together as a cohesive layout.

Project Timeline:

Mon Oct 24: Begin Project / Research / Thumbnails
Wed Oct 26: Edit Images / Start to combine into layout
Mon Oct 31: Typography
Wed Nov 02: Group Critique
Mon Nov 07: Implement changes
Wed Nov 09: Work Day / Design Philosophy
Mon Nov 14: Review work
Wed Nov 16: Project Due (Boards + PDFs)

(Here’s the body copy.)

MICROPUBLISHING: Contemporary Mythology

Guido Reni - Apollo on the Sun Chariot / Google Art Project
Guido Reni – Apollo on the Sun Chariot / Google Art Project


This project will be a digital/analog hybrid. We can move into InDesign to start laying out spreads, but there should still be an element of design-by-hand. That could be in the form of hand-lettering, illustration, cut paper, or something else entirely. Think back to Bootcamp Magazine, bootv01_01which we looked at on the first day of class. They have a great mixture of both analog and digital elements.

The content will be based around the theme of Contemporary Mythology. What is contemporary mythology? Start out thinking about what you know about mythology in general. Historically, myths have helped people to understand the world around us when it might not make sense. Does Apollo *really* drive a chariot across the sky, pulled by fiery horses, and that’s what makes the sun illuminate our world? Probably not, but it helped people think about the sun, and how it works.

With that in mind… what could be a contemporary version of a myth that helps explain things we don’t understand? Scientific discoveries have made many of the myths we know and love seem obsolete, but they still serve their purpose. Not to mention the fact that there are still a great many things we do not fully understand.

No superheroes.


20 pages (including covers)
Separate cover stock from interior pages
Your own writing/content
No color
Layout in InDesign
Some element of hand-design


Wed Oct 05 – Begin project / Research / Start writing
Mon Oct 10 – Work day
Wed Oct 12 – No official class meeting
Mon Oct 17 – Work day
Wed Oct 19 – Work day
Mon Oct 24 – Project Due