The sharp-eyed of you (or even the very blurry eyed) will have noticed our shiny new PCO website.
The team have been working on the project for over a year. Steve ‘Jonesy’ Jones oversaw the rebrand, aided by Clive ‘The Chair’ Goddard. We are also very fortunate to have Andrew Fraser as a member: Andrew’s background is in IT and he has long experience of website delivery.
Rather than me waffle on I’ll let Mr Jones explain the thinking and the process:
“This was a communal effort but I must offer extra thanks to Clive for his incredible patience, Drew and Laura at Neptune for their unstinting efforts – oh, and saintly tolerance of my sometimes terse and single minded way of making “suggestions”. Andrew Fraser, too, for his outstanding contribution, covering the dark arts (IT) side of things with calm, rational efficiency. In effect, my polar opposite.
“In a previous existence I was an art director, working on clients like London Eye, Harley Davidson, General Motors, etc., so I tried to bring some of that experience to bear when writing the brief for the PCO website redesign. When it came to the actual production I concentrated on the look and copy content, leaving the technical stuff to those with the know how – ie: Neptune and Andrew – to make it work.
One of Steve’s early layout roughs.
I wanted a very simple look with no distractions so that when people viewed the site our members’ work would be allowed to shine. I also rewrote some of the copy in a lighter and more humorous tone to reflect the work it was intended to complement. Finally, I commissioned some members to produce cartoons and caricatures to accompany different sections of the site. I must add the contributors generously accepted an insultingly low fee, and the committee (especially treasurer Amy!) are forever grateful. Throughout this process the committee were kept abreast of matters and I really appreciated their input and encouragement.
Now, however, I have completed my tour of duty and, as Clive succinctly put it, I’m going to spend more time with my sanity!”
The very busy old home page.
The brief was to freshen up the design and come up with something less cluttered and more eye-catching. As Steve wrote in the brief “We want to better utilise the space and increase the impact of our members’ work, which, of course, needs to be presented in the best possible light”
The new website was also an opportunity to improve much of the functionality that members had complained about over the years, such as rearranging portfolios and the ability to showcase animation or video. It also needed to work across multiple platforms and devices and link well with our VAST social media empire, for example the latest from our Instagram feed runs along the bottom of the home page. We also added a ‘Memoriam’ section to remember colleagues who are no longer with us.
We have retained the popular PCO ‘splat’ logo and branding (more splat merch coming soon)
The PCO ink blot logo from 2011
After putting the redesign and site build out to pitch the committee felt our current host Neptune Media would be good to work with again with as they already have an understanding of our organisation and needs.
Neptune’s Director Drew Sayer writes:
“It’s been a pleasure working with the Professional Cartoonists Organisation to present a much needed update to their online presence with a cleaner, modern and minimal approach, along with clearer messaging and simpler journey for their audience.”
One of Neptune’s early wireframes of the site build.
Some final words from PCO Chair Humanoid Clive Goddard:
“It’s been a long, sweaty gestation period but finally our beautiful new baby website has been born! She’s cute, she’s funny and she smells adorable, especially that bit at the back of the neck.
No daft bells or trendy whistles but a whole bunch of shiny new portfolios uploaded by our hugely talented range of cartoonists.
There’s everything you need to know about contacting a cartoonist, commissioning a cartoon and joining us at the Professional Cartoonist’s Organisation.
So pop in and say hello to our new baby. We’re so proud of her!”