The Behind the Scenes

By Isabelle (Izzy) Poirier and Ariane Bédard

Happy birthday ODC zine! We can’t believe it’s been a year since we started this.

Looking back to when we started this project, we had no idea where this journey would take us. We just felt like it was cool to create something tactile in an era that was suddenly only digital. As the world was also falling apart, we wanted to try something fun…we were even prepared to fail and took the experimental approach with our first issue. To our surprise the zine sold out very quickly, and we were hooked!

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common


THE IDEA
We don’t remember exactly when we had the idea for this theme, but we knew that after our Pop Culture issue we wanted to do a complete 180. We didn’t want it to be predictable. We also wanted to be vulnerable and get to know our community better. It was time to take more risks. We had learned a few lessons from our previous publications and we felt it was time to try something a little bolder.

Izzy: As a sushi lover people may say that the RAW idea came to me after ordering my fav salmon avocado roll on UberEats, but not quite LOL! I was having a lot of nostalgia about my university years. I have a BFA so I used to do a lot of photography. I missed the hands-on techniques of developing photos in the black room. Not only did I miss the process but I also missed being able to capture a moment, an emotion, a souvenir with the click of a shutter speed. That rabbit hole of memories led me to remember the theory behind digital photography and why an unedited photo is called a RAW file.

‘RAW files are generally large in size because they contain minimally processed image data with lossless quality. It contains the direct image data from the camera sensors with no loss of quality and alteration’ - Google

Then, if a file is unedited is it unfinished? I started to have an inner conversation with myself and started analysing the meaning of RAW and how it was multi-layered (not just in Photoshop).

THE CURATION
We were excited to see how the theme was going to be interpreted. As mentioned before, the meaning of RAW can be taken in a lot of different directions. Just do a quick google search and you’ll be dizzy from all the results.

The submissions mirrored the google search as we received a huge variety of works for this theme. It was so interesting to explore, and since we only asked the artists to describe the artwork in one sentence, we had to really evaluate, understand, feel and deconstruct each piece. Thankfully, we weren’t alone to do so. Ryan Antooa and Alexia Kokozaki helped us with the curation of this zine. The conversations that were generated during this session were so deep and rich, a great indication that the artworks meshed well together and supported one another. We also decided to showcase more artists in this zine, not because it’s the anniversary (well maybe a bit), but because we couldn’t pass on the submitted artworks. The overall feel was just spot on!

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Screen shot from our curation meeting.

Izzy: The zine curation process is my favourite. I feel like I’m entering a new world every time I look at a submission. Curating this issue was extremely difficult as we've received a lot of amazing artworks. Sending the rejection emails broke my heart.

Ariane: I’m echoing Izzy on this. It was so difficult! We really have to trust our guts when making these decisions, always going back to the theme and listening to everyone’s initial reaction to the piece. We had such differing opinions this time which is why it is SO important to invite new people to curate each issue. Different points of view are key.

MEANINGS
As mentioned above, we purposely asked the artists to only submit one sentence describing their artwork because we wanted the readers to create their own narratives, draw their own connections with the theme.

To piggyback on this idea, we decided to start the editor’s letter on the inside cover and finish it on the back inside cover (if readers don’t make the connection, the first and last sentences also work together). This was our way to not only showcase the segments of a process but also an unfinished piece/idea that can stand alone even if it’s incomplete. As creatives we understand how hard it is to know when to stop.

THE DESIGN PROCESS
There’s a lot that can be said here and this issue was truly a labour of love. If you are new to reading our zine, you may not have noticed that we try to change up our design in every issue to further reflect the theme.

Ariane: Designing Zine 0003 was so much fun! Transitioning from our super-polished bubble-gum pink design to a theme of Raw and imperfection pushed us to play with textures, hand-drawn and hand-painted elements. Initially, I remember feeling quite daunted by that. I kept over-thinking how I would do it, being unsure about how “good” my hand-drawn elements would look.

So I took out the paint, the markers, the paper and just filled those blank pages with WHATEVER. I had to stop doubting myself and just paint, draw, cut, scan, combine...play! That’s what this issue is all about, imperfection! A few hours later and a floor filled with paper and paint stains, the final touches of the design were complete and we’re thrilled with the outcome.

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See some of the design process through those photos.


Beyond the textures inside the zine, we really wanted to make our cover special and render the feeling of using RAW materials beyond the visual aspect. We wanted to add something tactile. Using kraft cardstock as our covers was a no-brainer but we wanted to push that idea further. This is when we had the crazy idea to spray paint each piece of kraft cardstock. By doing so, every cover is different. Receiving our box of zines from The Printing House was extra special since the finished product was a surprise, even to us!

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We had to take breaks because the fumes were getting to us!

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common

THE EXPERIENCE
We create our zines with the intention of providing an experience. We want our readers to have takeaways and remember the content that is presented to them. That’s why we try to focus on the multi sensorial experience of the zine. This time around we wanted a music artist to be involved in our process. We asked Matfroninja to create a specific house mix for us inspired by the content of the zine. We shared a big moodboard with all the selected artworks and let him do his magic (and he killed it!). Scan the QR code and let the music transport you…

AND MORE…
Speaking of QR codes, you will find a few more throughout the publication accompanying specific pieces that benefit from that added dimension. This way, 3D, video and motion works can be experienced fully by the reader. So yes, our printed product even offers digital content.

This is not the only new feature we added to the zine. We also asked four amazing writers to get very vulnerable with us and write about their own experiences with the theme RAW. Again, what came out of it is very different from one essay to another.

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common


A big RAW “thank you” to express our deepest gratitude.

We couldn’t celebrate our first zine anniversary without the help of our community.

A huge thank you to Ryan Antooa and Alexia Kokozaki for helping us with the curation of zine 0003. It was a difficult task and we are so happy with the outcome. Thank you to Rémi Thériault for the photography wizardry and zine support. Thank you to Dave Weatherall for going over our words. Thank you to Matfroninja for the sick beats. Thank you to Linda Arsenault Reid for allowing us to spray paint our zine covers in your garage. Thank you to spark*advocacy, Rebel.com, House of Common, Wallack’s and The Printing House for believing in our artsy repertoire. Thank you to Sticker Mule for the amazing sticker swag! Thank you all for sharing the same values and mission as us. We are lucky to have you in our zine family.

Isabelle, Ariane & Chanel, Ottawa Design Club



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RAW Mix - by Matfroninja




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