Tasked with publishing a zine in graduate school, fellow designer Jessica Karle and I wanted to tap into the tradition of zines’ subcultures. Over nine days, we set out to learn as much as we could about the arenas of chess, beer, and guns.

We documented, inquired, interpreted, and experimented—just not always in that order. We studied pop culture references in movies, attended tournaments and competitions, and visited facilities and shows. We engaged with Grandmasters, brewmasters, rangemasters, and others far more experienced than us in the extended Baltimore area.

Our zine is a visualization of vernacular that tells our own experience through the stories of those we met. Our zine reveals how, especially as designers, we grasp for a wider understanding of the world around us.

Printing offset on newsprint, we had to account for low-quality paper, absorbency issues, and a limited color palette to fit our budget. We chose imagery and icons that would shine in just black ink and were conservative with type size and weight.
Detail of iconography
Inspired by the use of classification in field guides, for each activity, we recorded our hours of exposure to the topic and a list of vocabulary we learned.