There’s no doubt that zine culture is here to stay. This trend stems from cool subcultures that defy all traditional design rules. It’s about embracing grungy textures, clashing colors, and rough-edged layers.

In this video tutorial, I’ll show you how to add these free textures to your zine-inspired digital collage. Download your textures, and let’s head into Photoshop.

By downloading this free texture pack, you agree not to resell or redistribute these assets.

Download Now

Before we get started, make sure you have your various design elements on separate layers. This is important for using the different blend modes and adding your textures through clipping masks.

You can create your own digital collage by creating a design with multiple layers of photo clippings, text, shapes, and cut-outs — like the one in this tutorial.


Using Clipping Masks

Clipping masks are a great way to isolate your textures within your digital collage. In order to do this, place your texture into your design by going to File > Place Embedded, and select your texture. You want to make sure the texture you just placed into your file is on top of the element that you want to clip.

Here, you can see I’ve placed the asphalt texture on top of the cut-out layer. To clip it, hold down alt/option while hovering over the line between each layer until you see a box with an arrow, then click OK. Now the texture is clipped within your layer. You can select the texture layer and move it around until you get your desired position.


Add a Stroke to Cut-Outs

A quick way to create emphasis around elements in your collage is by adding a stroke. You can easily do this by adding a layer style in your layers panel.

In your layers panel, click the layer style button fx, then click stroke. For this design, I used a 29 px stroke size; however, feel free to play around with different stroke sizes and colors for your own outline. If you’d like to change to color, double-click the color square to do so.

Zine Texture Tutorial Video: Embrace Rough Edges and Clashing Colors - Stroke Size/Color

Zine Texture Tutorial Video: Embrace Rough Edges and Clashing Colors - Layer Style

Here are other ways you can use clipping and layer masks with these textures.


Adding Color to Your Textures

These textures come in grayscale, but you can easily add color with this quick trick. Start by placing your file into your design by going to File > place embedded. For this one, I used the slab texture in the grayscale folder.

From there, place it exactly how you want it in your design. I enlarged the texture to get more of the detail to come through. Double-click the texture in your layers panel to open up the file in a new window. Once in your new file, go to Image > Mode > Duotone.

Zine Texture Tutorial Video: Embrace Rough Edges and Clashing Colors - Add Color to Texture

Now change the color to whatever you’d like — I’m using blue. Once you label your color, press OK.

You must change the mode back to RGB in order for this color to show up in your main file. Save your texture file, and close it out.

Zine Texture Tutorial Video: Embrace Rough Edges and Clashing Colors - Change Color

When you go back to your Photoshop file, your texture will now appear with the new color.


Adding Textures to Text

These textures are not only great for shapes and cut-outs, they are also perfect for adding grunge to your text. Once your texture is in your design, arrange it so it’s covering your entire text layer.

You can either create a clipping mask or layer mask. I used a layer mask. To do this, hold down command on your keyboard, and click the text layer. Now that your text is selected, go back to your texture layer. Go to the bottom of your layers panel, and click the Add Layer Mask button.

Zine Texture Tutorial Video: Embrace Rough Edges and Clashing Colors - Layer Mask

Now your texture is masked within your text. If you want a displaced texture look, move your text slightly down and to either side. Next, we’ll add a blend mode to the layer mask we just created.


Using Blend Modes

Blend modes are perfect for integrating your textures into your design. Each texture and color will give you a different result, so experiment with each blending mode to find what works for you.

You can find the blend modes at the top of your layers panel. The blend mode used for the text here is Pin Light, and the blend mode is Soft Light. You can change the opacity — as with the background here — to make the texture more subtle.

Here are some other ways you can use blend modes.

Zine Texture Tutorial Video: Embrace Rough Edges and Clashing Colors - Blend Modes

You can use these design tricks for cool poster ideas, invitations, or for promotional material — like social media posts. To get this zine culture look, strive to be less structured, as the beauty of this trend is an unpolished, raw design.


Interested in the tracks we used to create this tutorial?

Looking for more video tutorials? Check these out.