The idea for Pine started with frustration. As a writer, I want to get my work out there and published, but sadly, a lot of journals take submission fees. As a poor uni student, I don’t really have $20 spare to submit to a journal that I may or may not get published in. I was frustrated in the situation I was in, so I decided to create something to fix that.
A large part of the Ideation process is empathising (Plattner, H 2010) – observing, listening to, and engaging with people. In my case, those people were my fellow students. A lot of them are super creative, making awesome things but viewing it only as a hobby or not feeling confident enough to post online. I reached out to a few people, and they felt the same frustration as I did. So, I decided to create a zine which gives local creatives an opportunity to get their work into the world. Not only does it validate their practice, but it looks great on their resumes too. And, it will be free to access, so people can support their local creatives with no cost to them.
I called it Pine (or Pine the Zine) as a kind of joke. It’s memorable because it’s short, but it’s also a little funny because it makes you question the way you’re saying the words (think “Sean Bean” or “Lemon Demon”). In a world where there is so much content, so many zines and magazines, it’s important to me that Pine is memorable.
So, I started asking people on Twitter to submit to Pine, and people were actually really interested!
As the idea developed, I realised that social media would be essential to gaining an audience and the submissions. So, I posted on UOW Students Buy and Sell on Facebook, and asked for more creatives. This pretty much doubled the amount of submissions I recieved, and it allowed me to gain some traction too. Now, the name is out there.
It’s a hard balance trying to gain an audience and create an online persona (Moore, C et al. 2017). On one hand, to seem professional, you need to have all the social media handles and email addresses of a company. On the other hand, a lot of people don’t care about things if there’s no personal touch – they’re more likely to care about me posting something than Pine‘s official Facebook page posting something.
With that being said, an official Instagram, Facebook, and email would be essential to gaining an audience and keeping them engaged. So, I created those things and created an online persona. I’m not trying to be super formal or corporate, but in order to gain a respectable name and some respect, you have to be official on those accounts. Basically, no shitposting.
Again, in an attempt to be more formal, I needed a logo. After some messing around on Canva, I created these:
I worked out that Canva would be the perfect way for me to create the zine – there are some useful templates, and it’s such a flexible site so I could do pretty much everything I wanted. I would export the design as a pdf, and upload it to Issuu, where I would get a shareable link. I played around on those sites for a while to make sure they could do everything I wanted, and sure enough, I found my process.
I think that’s when Pine became more real to me. I had a logo. I had upwards of ten submissions. I had an Instagram, a Facebook, and an email. And I had a way to actually put it together. It was exciting.
So, I created a spreadsheet with the names of the creatives, their contact details, their Instagram handles and their submission status. I sent out an email to those who had submitted giving them the details of the process.
Again, I think communicating with the people who helped you out is important to the creation and reputation of things. I think that’s especially important now, considering my entire DA is dependent on other people.
In order to maintain that offical persona yet continue to appeal to a student audience, I decided to maintain a theme around the Instagram page. Super simple – just white borders surrounding the images and the Pine logo in the bottom right corner.
So, now the Instagram page will be updated every two days until Issue 1: Self’s release on September 13th. By posting consistently and tagging the creators, it allows me to gain an audience (potentially getting other creators to share the photos) and it keeps my audience engaged until the release (Williams, H 2019). It also ensures that some content is exclusively for the zine itself, encouraging people to actually read it.
So, that’s Pine. Once Issue 1 is released, it will be posted on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and shared on local groups too. You’ll also be able to spot posters around the uni promoting it and asking for submissions for Issue 2.
Moore, C. Barbour, K. and Lee, K. (2017) Five Dimensions of Persona. Persona Studies, 3(1), 1-11.
Plattner, H. (2010) An Introduction to Design Thinking: Process Guide
Williams H (2019) How Often Should You Post on Social Media?