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Darren Loucaides, writer
Natalie Matuschovsky, Long Lead, creative director
John Patrick Pullen, Long Lead, editor
Jun Cen, illustration
Jordan Bruner, animator
Cuchillo, motion graphics
Decimal, project design and development
Long Lead, client

Launch Site

“In a world with news fatigue, this site performed a very challenging feat: making difficult-to-read content accessible and engaging. The illustration, copy and navigation all worked together to make the challenging information easier to consume.” —Pam Scheideler

“This site makes great use of design and animation. It’s playful and invites navigation.” —Andre Elijah

Overview: In August 2020, nearly 40,000 demonstrators gathered at a Berlin rally organized by Querdenken, a group leading Germany’s COVID-skeptic movement; nearby, protestors tried to break into Germany’s parliament, eerily prescient for the US Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. Independent journalism platform Long Lead and New York–based design firm Decimal created Querdenken Everything to chronicle the rise and fall of COVID misinformation with the goal of raising awareness of its causes and effects. The story’s primary audience is informed readers of COVID, international and political news; misinformation and QAnon experts; and in-depth journalism enthusiasts.

The site features nine commissioned illustrations, three infographics and a 3-D graphic user interface.

Querdenken Everything was built using 11ty, GSAP, three.js and WebGL.

From concept to completion, Querdenken Everything took fourteen months with a team of more-than-20 people across three agencies.

Comments by John Patrick Pullen: 
How would you describe Querdenken Everything’s special interactive features? “Querdenken Everything is a beautiful mix of the best elements that online journalism can offer: a gripping story, evocative art and immersive design. To make this story particularly immersive, we needed a wild 3-D interface that would nearly overwhelm readers—just like conspiracy theories do. Decimal, working with Bilbao, Spain–based creative firm Cuchillo, developed a spiral background consisting of independent particles that spin and speed up when the user enables the site’s navigation. It’s gorgeous and transfixing but also important to the reader experience.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “COVID is a devastating public health issue, and at its heart, Querdenken Everything is a dual profile of two figures central to Germany’s COVID misinformation movement. However, these two subjects were open with their thoughts and generous with their time. The questions we at Long Lead asked were: ‘Why? Were they using this opportunity to advance their ideologies or launder their reputations?’ We couldn’t be sure, but we still had to find a way to represent them visually in the story. Jun Cen’s illustrations depicted these people without promoting them—a difficult balance, perfectly attained. Visually compelling yet disconnected and projecting loneliness, they were the perfect avatar for Darren Loucaides’s soulful pandemic tale.”

Is the audience you were targeting a difficult one to reach? “In this day and age, they’re effectively impossible to reach. Recent studies have shown that around 65 percent of people say they get their news primarily from social media; however, social media algorithms have been trained to block content containing COVID misinformation. As a result, those stories must be promoted by curators and news aggregators. The unique design of Querdenken Everything has helped it stand out and be shared with readers worldwide.”


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