Ask is a new zine on consent, created by four inclusive skateboarding collectives for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Designed by Glasgow-based designer Giulia Saporito, the Ask zine aims to bring the conversation around consent from screens into the physical world.
- Liz Gorny
- 29 April 2022
“The skateboarding community is well-known for being a supportive and welcoming place, but as with any other community, it isn’t perfect,” explains the Ask Campaign Collective, a group composed of four female and non-binary collectives from the skate scene, including Doyenne, Consent is Rad, Consent for Breakfast and Hera Skate. “Recurring events made us understand that the conversation around consent is a necessary and important one to have.” The idea for the Ask campaign was borne between international initiatives: Glasgow-born skateboarding brand Doyenne and Australian education project Consent is Rad, with support from online platform Consent for Breakfast and Berlin-based non-profit Hera Skate. Not only is their vision centred around shaping their shared community into a more consent-conscious one for all, it is also a uniquely physical-first campaign. Ask launched on 26 April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month as an educational zine and T-shirt series, countering the notion that communication can only happen online.
The zine itself, designed by Giulia Saporito, had to tackle a considerable challenge, both editorially and via design. “Our challenge was to make the topic of consent accessible but also without compromising the seriousness of the consequences that so many victims and survivors have to deal with across their lives,” says the Ask Campaign Collective. Content-wise, the zine features sections on everything from Consent and Pronouns to how to call out a friend on questionable behaviour, to comics and tests; allowing readers to check their understanding of consent. As such, the design needed to remain engaging and serious while allowing for “breaths of humour and art”, the collective says. Faced with walking the tightrope between clarity and beauty, Giulia has designed the zine with softness in mind “to inspire gentle but productive conversation,” the collective explains.
An elegant and “trustworthy” type was chosen alongside a soft palette to foster optimism towards “an otherwise difficult subject”. Interestingly, the zine also extends an aesthetic found within the Doyenne brand, one that differentiates itself from the “stereotypical, often masculine, skateboarding style” to welcome new audiences to the conversation – and scene. A bold cover, devoid of any decoration apart from a campaign title, was vital for the collective in inviting curious onlookers to pick up the zine without any preconceived judgement towards the subject matter. The Ask zine consists largely of real experiences and insights from creatives, researchers, social workers and more from the international skate scene. Ask also features T-shirts designed by Giulia Saporito, Lisa Chisholm and Paula Umaña, bringing the campaign further into the physical world.
While online campaigns can prove useful in drawing eyes on mass to an issue, the Ask Campaign Collective points out the often overlooked benefits of print when it comes to consent education. The Ask zine is easy to print out and distribute and share within a local community, prompting collaborative responses rather than lone reflection. Its format is also useful in countering unhelpful responses that an online world often propagates, from feelings of isolation to knee-jerk reactions, like rejecting hard-to-accept information. “We love how the physicality of the zine can nurture vulnerability and honesty through inciting face-to-face conversations,” the collective adds. “We were also inspired by the Riot Grrrl movement, which used zines as a way to spread their message by distributing them around spaces where they could find other people to join in their movement.” The campaign collective has plans to distribute Ask in areas you might expect to find a skate magazine, but instead will be met with a more introspective twist.
While the collective ensures “consent work is never going to be easy” – and that “it’s going to involve talking about often traumatic and uncomfortable topics” – it also hopes the zine, built from a genuine place of openness, can prompt the same thing in the communities it will be distributed within.
The Ask Campaign Collective concludes: “Interacting with and speaking openly about campaigns like ours will help us form better habits with a better understanding of respecting each individual’s boundaries as unique and wholly important. The zine and T-shirts are easy ways to start right now, with the clear message that we are all capable of doing the best thing for one another: ask.”
Ask is available for purchase on the Doyenne site; 100 per cent of the profit will go to Consent Is Rad, supporting their mission in educating about the importance of consent in the skate community and beyond.
GalleryGiulia Saporito: Ask (Copyright © Ask Campaign Collective: Doyenne / Consent is Rad / Consent for Breakfast / Hera Skate, 2022)
Giulia Saporito: Ask (Copyright © Ask Campaign Collective: Doyenne / Consent is Rad / Consent for Breakfast / Hera Skate, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.