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Project 4: Editorial | Dissertation Zine


After completing my dissertation on gender stereotypes and gender-neutral design last semester, I wanted to find a way to display it through some form of editorial design.

Initially, I thought about producing an article for an existing magazine but then thought I could just create my own from scratch and dedicate the project to creating a stand-alone zine that features my essay.

My dissertation can be viewed here:

Emma Cooke Dissertation
Download PDF • 890KB


I began first by collecting a few images of some existing newspaper/magazine designs to inspire my layouts. I was very drawn to bold typography and minimal colour palettes.

I had the idea to make the styling of the zine inspired by retro/vintage adverts due to originally learning about gender stereotypes in my second year of the course through the use of sexist imagery and language in old advertisements and Letraset illustrations.

Thumbnailing and Planning

I also started planning out the page structure and layout with thumbnail sketches, experimenting with different column sizes and placement.


When starting on the screen, I found and experimented with a bunch of different old-fashioned inspired typefaces. I also experimented a lot with editing images related to the theme with different filters and half-tones to make them look old and printed.

I then started trying to put my layouts together in InDesign; I found this quite difficult because I couldn't rely on big images to take up space so instead used shapes such as bubbles and ‘stars’ containing quotes from my essay to break up the pages.

In the end, I added black and white photographs with a half-tone treatment produced in Photoshop to add more contrast. One of the main topics I focused on in my essay was the stigma around shaving so I included a lot of legs and razors.

Final Piece

Here are the final designs for my zine mocked up, inspired by old-fashioned newspaper and magazine adverts as that was when gender stereotypes were the most prevalent. I think my zine really works well at raising awareness of the issues surrounding gender and how gender-neutral design could be a solution, using the advert inspired elements to highlight key information and using an ironic but aesthetically pleasing pink and blue colour palette.



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