Propelling a Movement that uses satire and creativity to defend our freedom of speech

When cartoonists and political satire are under pressure from all sides, how do you create a platform that supports their efforts to incite independent thought?

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A s the #1 online platform for high quality political cartoons and comics journalism, Cartoon Movement brings together professional cartoonists and fans of political satire from all over the world. A powerful new multidomain platform now supports their important mission: to promote the editorial cartoon, support its often brave creators and defend our freedom of speech.

Wat we hebben gedaan

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Building a solid foundation

As with all independent professionals, cartoonists’ first need is simply making a living. But with a continued decline in newspaper circulation, assignments and revenue from their traditional clients had come under pressure. It’s why Cartoon Movement was already doing sales and licensing for their ‘roster’ of over 500 professional cartoonists.

When we started our partnership back in 2017, much of this was still being done offline though, a process that was labour intensive and prone to error. It’s why we started with creating a webshop that would drive both sales and efficiency.

Reducing scope to enable future expansion

To put a limited budget to full effect, we decided to build a separate Drupal Commerce webshop that could serve as a framework for future expansion.

To increase general functionality, we developed a so-called Rest API that enables cartoonists to do edits and additions to their portfolio on the existing platform while automatically updating their work in the new webshop. Additionally, we automated the licensing model, making it possible to offer eight license types without having to save any duplicates on the server.

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Migrating an extensive library of alternative perspective

With the resulting boost in revenue, two years later Cartoon Movement was able to do a highly anticipated investment in the 10-year old website. The goal: integrate the website and webshop in a single platform to offer both cartoonists and visitors a seamless, modern and engaging user experience.

With the extensive, ten year old library at the core of the platform, our first priority, however, was to safely migrate all 58.000 cartoons to the new Amazon S3 environment.

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Rethinking and expanding beyond the obvious

Then we got to the fun stuff, redeveloping and improving existing functionality while adding new features. Introducing the Drupal CMS meant a giant leap in easy content management, not only for Cartoon Movement itself but also all associated cartoonists. Uploading, editing and commenting on their work has become so much more efficient and effective.

We went on to making major improvements to search, user management, social media sharing, and cross-platform compatibility. A new Collections feature now enables the team to create collections of cartoons, highlighting and addressing topics of current interest.

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A design that amplifies the power of satire

With a complete overhaul of the platform’s UX and visual design we made sure usability and aesthetics would meet the high quality of the platform’s content. Introducing an airy and more modern look, we put the creative work center stage.

As a natural companion to the hand-drawn cartoons a new serif font now drives associations with print publications’ authority while supporting it’s award-winning status. Finally, we aligned the website’s mobile styling with the desktop version, radically improving the user experience on mobile devices.

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Serving both editors and audience

Tjeerd Royaards, Cartoon Movement’s founder and editor-in-chief:
“After 10 years of dutiful service, the website was in great need of an update. We’re very pleased with the sleek and straightforward design in which the cartoons really come into their own. Already we’re getting lots of positive feedback about the clear navigation. With the website now fully accessible on mobile devices and serving both publishers’ image editors and the general audience, our audience will only continue to grow. Therefore we’re very pleased with the results and consider it a major step towards a bright future.”

Stepping stones towards a bright future

Together we’ve already laid out a road map for this future. Think of further enhancement of the comics’ presentation, a dashboard for participating cartoonists, easy invoicing, possibly even automating the calculation and pay-out of royalties.

But for now, we’re basking in today’s success in supporting an important democratic movement, perhaps even making a contribution to the often stifled freedom of speech.