by Jayme Yen
serial publication / zine
staple-bound, 16 pages
two-color, risograph, edition 200
published by New Laconic, 2016
4.875 x 7.125 inches


Everyone uses idioms. You probably have a favorite or two, from “it’s raining cats and dogs” to “son of a gun” or “I wish my ex would kick the bucket.”

IDIOM #1 is an eye-poppingly bright, risograph-printed zine. Through a series of conversational letters, author and designer Jayme Yen brings tiny moments of cultural insight to our attention.

The crisp, yellow and orange pages juxtapose fragments of stories, dictionary definitions, and delightfully cryptic illustrations.

An idiom is a turn of phrase whose meaning is more than the sum of its parts. Idioms occur in all cultures, but each one is specific to its home language.

Yen shows us that idioms reveal who we are, and how we encode our world.

Idiomatic language is both the window and the gateway into another culture—windows you allow to peek in, to see the things and ideas that other people value, but they’re also gateways which can be closed and the uninitiated can find themselves on the other side, locked out. —Jayme Yen

This playful and elegant zine will make you question why you say what you say.

IDIOM #1 is the first issue in a series exploring written and visual metaphors in shared language. Each issue comes in a different, yet familiar, format. Drop your details here, and we’ll keep you informed about future issues.

Idiom #1 excerpt

Idiom #1 excerpt


Jayme Yen is a graphic designer and teacher based in Seattle. Her work has been shown in exhibitions internationally, including the 26th International Biennial of Graphic Design, Brno, CZE.