Well-Known Brands Are Publishing Zines: Here’s Why

In recent years, zines, the self-published, often handmade magazines, have seen a resurgence in popularity. What was once a medium for underground and indie artists, activists, and writers has now caught the attention of well-known brands. Companies such as Airbnb, Gucci, and even acclaimed artists like Frank Ocean are turning to zine publishing to reach and engage with their audiences. But why?

Personalization and Authenticity

Zines have always been about personal expression and authenticity. They’re typically low-fi, full of original artwork, and cover topics that mainstream media might overlook. This authenticity is appealing to consumers who are increasingly skeptical of traditional advertising. Brands can use zines to present their story in an authentic and engaging way.

Airbnb, for example, launched ‘Pineapple’, a travel-themed zine that offers local insights and personal experiences from hosts around the world. It isn’t just about promoting their platform; it’s about sharing real stories and creating a sense of community.

Frank Ocean, the Grammy-winning artist, also recognized the power of zines with his ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ publication. Released alongside his album ‘Blonde,’ the zine featured personal essays, fashion shoots, and interviews, offering fans a deeper insight into his creative world.

Tangibility in a Digital World

In an age where everything is online, there’s something special about holding a physical object. Zines offer a tactile experience that digital content can’t replicate. They can be collected, shared, and cherished in a way that an Instagram post or a blog article can’t.

Fashion brand Gucci recognized this when they launched their ‘Chime Zine,’ which provides a physical connection between the brand and its customers. The zine explores the company’s commitment to gender equality and women’s rights, creating a tangible representation of their values.

Creative Freedom

Unlike traditional marketing mediums, zines offer creative freedom. There are no rules or restrictions – brands can experiment with design, format, and content. This allows them to push boundaries and create something truly unique.

This was notably seen in Frank Ocean’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ zine. The unconventional mix of personal essays, fashion shoots, and artist collaborations showcased a level of creativity that is rarely seen in traditional media formats.

Community Building

Zines have always been about community. They’re often created by individuals or small groups, traded at fairs or sold in independent shops. Brands can tap into this aspect to build and strengthen their own communities.

For example, Adidas launched ‘Creator Zine,’ where they showcase the work of young creatives from around the world. It’s not just about promoting their products; it’s about fostering a community of creators and giving them a platform to share their work.

In conclusion, well-known brands and artists are turning to zines because they offer authenticity, tangibility, creative freedom, and community building. They allow brands to connect with their audience in a unique and meaningful way. As consumers continue to value these attributes, we can expect to see more brands experimenting with zine publishing.


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dabodab is published by Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker) of GAJOOB, Tapegerm Collective, Discover Zines and other sites which are now joined together here on dabodab. read more.

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