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Print Issue 1 of Phantasmag Zine – Ex Why Zed’s Magazine Printing Services

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250x176mm Magazines
4pp Cover onto 300gsm Uncoated
114pp Text onto 150gsm Uncoated
Full colour print throughout
Perfect Bound

Phantasmag’s first issue is a meticulously crafted zine that delves deep into the realms of horror, music, and art. Our journey with Phantasmag began with a shared vision of creating a visually stunning publication that captures the essence of these dark and atmospheric themes. At Ex Why Zed, we provided comprehensive support from the initial spark of creativity to the final printed masterpiece. Our detailed print quotes, expert guidance on technical aspects, and commitment to quality ensured that the project moved forward smoothly and successfully. Discover how we transformed Phantasmag’s vision into reality and why we are the top choice for magazine printing in the UK.

Phantasmag: Issue 1 – A Design Critique

Thematic Significance

Phantasmag, a biannual zine, delves deep into the realms of horror, music, and art, providing a rich tapestry of dark and atmospheric themes. This first issue sets the stage for what promises to be an engaging exploration of horror’s multifaceted nature. From personal stories to cultural critiques, the zine captures the essence of horror in a visually compelling manner.

Styling Aesthetics

The cover of “Issue 1” immediately draws attention with its striking pink background contrasted by black graphics. The artwork features a collage of eerie images, setting a tone of unease and curiosity. The bold, distressed typography of the title “PHANTASMAG” adds to the zine’s raw, unpolished charm, inviting readers into its dark world.

Design Choices

Inside, the zine maintains a consistent aesthetic with its use of black and white imagery, punctuated by occasional splashes of red. This limited colour palette enhances the overall mood, creating a cohesive visual narrative. The choice of uncoated paper for both cover and text pages adds a tactile dimension that complements the zine’s underground, DIY ethos.

Colour Palette

The restrained use of colour—primarily black, white, and pink—serves to focus the reader’s attention on the content without overwhelming the senses. The pink cover stands out against the monochromatic interiors, making the zine visually distinct and memorable.

Typographic Usage

Typography plays a crucial role in Phantasmag’s design. The mix of bold, distressed fonts for headings and clean, readable type for body text strikes a balance between aesthetic appeal and readability. The typographic choices reflect the zine’s edgy, avant-garde spirit while ensuring the content remains accessible.

Page Layout

The page layouts are dynamic and varied, avoiding a monotonous reading experience. The use of large images, full-page spreads, and creative text arrangements keeps the reader engaged. The interplay between text and images is carefully orchestrated, with each element enhancing the other.

Binding Style

The perfect binding of the zine lends it a professional touch, ensuring durability while maintaining the aesthetic of a high-quality publication. The 250x176mm size is convenient to handle, and the thick cover stock provides a robust feel.

Storytelling Elements

Phantasmag excels in its storytelling through both visual and textual elements. The narrative flow is well-crafted, guiding readers through different themes and stories seamlessly. The imagery supports the written content, creating a holistic storytelling experience that is both immersive and thought-provoking.

Actionable Insights

For future designers aiming to create a similar winning solution, here are some actionable insights:

  • Consistency in Aesthetics: Maintain a cohesive visual theme that reflects the publication’s core subject matter.
  • Effective Use of Colour: Use a limited colour palette to create focus and enhance thematic elements.
  • Typography: Choose fonts that align with the publication’s tone and ensure readability.
  • Dynamic Layouts: Vary page layouts to keep the reader engaged, balancing text and imagery.
  • Quality Materials: Invest in high-quality paper and binding to give the publication a professional feel.
  • Holistic Storytelling: Integrate visual and textual elements to create an immersive narrative.

The Print Journey of Phantasmag at Ex Why Zed

Key Takeaways

  • Lana from Phantasmag reached out to Ex Why Zed for printing their new zine.
  • Ex Why Zed provided detailed quotes and options for printing specifications.
  • Multiple clarifications and adjustments were made regarding paper type, colour accuracy, and specific print requirements.
  • Ex Why Zed guided Lana through technical aspects, addressing concerns about colour conversion, paper quality, and transparency issues.
  • Final adjustments were made, and the project was set to print with mutual satisfaction.

Client’s Aims and Aspirations for the Project

Lana Shchadey from Phantasmag aimed to produce a high-quality print edition of their new zine, focusing on maintaining the visual integrity and thematic depth of their content. They were particular about the paper type and print quality, striving for a balance between cost and the desired aesthetic.

Ex Why Zed’s Expertise in Moving the Project Forward

Ex Why Zed utilised their extensive experience to address Lana’s specific concerns and requirements. They provided clear, detailed quotes for various printing options and guided Lana through the entire print journey, from file setup to final production. Their support included:

  • Detailed print quotes with and without cover lamination.
  • Providing a comprehensive guide on preparing artwork for printing.
  • Offering technical advice on colour conversion and transparency issues.
  • Ensuring clear communication and timely responses to all of Lana’s queries.

Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness

  • Expertise: By offering detailed and precise technical advice on printing specifications.
  • Authoritativeness: Through a robust portfolio and numerous positive reviews on Trustpilot.
  • Trustworthiness: By maintaining transparent communication and providing clear guidance throughout the process.

Overview of the Email Interaction

Initial Engagement

Lana reached out to Ex Why Zed to inquire about printing options for Phantasmag’s new zine. Ex Why Zed welcomed Lana warmly, providing an overview of their services and a step-by-step guide to the print journey.

Detailed Print Quotes

Ex Why Zed provided Lana with detailed quotes for different paper types and sizes, offering suggestions to optimize costs without compromising quality.

Addressing Technical Concerns

Lana had specific concerns about the colour accuracy and quality of images on uncoated paper. Ex Why Zed provided in-depth explanations and resources to help Lana understand the technical aspects of colour conversion and print quality.

“As we are litho printing the books, we print in 8 or 16 page sections. It will therefore make it significantly more expensive to print as 2pp sections to accommodate the switching between uncoated and silk.”

Final Adjustments and Order Placement

Lana finalised the order after addressing all concerns and sent the artwork for printing. Ex Why Zed ensured all technical issues were resolved and confirmed the final print specifications.

Featured Comment

Lana expressed her gratitude and satisfaction with Ex Why Zed’s support and guidance throughout the process.

“Hi Mike, Thanks for checking in and all your communication so far. We will be working on all the adjustments to CYMK and greyscale over the weekend. I appreciate all of your help so far. Best, Lana”


Phantasmag’s first issue stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and expert guidance. From the thematic depth and styling aesthetics to the intricate design choices and storytelling elements, every aspect of the zine reflects a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. The email interactions between Lana Shchadey and our team at Ex Why Zed highlight our commitment to addressing client concerns, providing clear and actionable advice, and ensuring a seamless printing experience. This project not only showcases the exceptional quality of Phantasmag’s content but also underscores Ex Why Zed’s expertise in bringing creative visions to life. Whether it’s our meticulous attention to print quality or our responsive customer service, we strive to make every project a success.

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For more information on this book or to discuss your upcoming project, do get in touch on:
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Ex Why Zed makes self publishing a truly pleasurable experience!
Brilliant communication from start to finish. Mike had endless patience for the many questions we asked. The guides provided were easy to follow and super helpful (the video guides are a must watch too). Our order of hardback illustrated children's books was delivered expertly packaged and on time. As for the finished product itself - stunning - a real joy to finally hold, beautifully made and perfectly printed! We couldn't have asked for more. Well, we did - we instantly placed an order for paperback children's colouring books too, which we are equally as happy with. Look forward to working with Ex Why Zed again in the future.
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