Sudbury Rowing Club,

Website for a rowing club

An ongoing project to sort out the 25-year-old web presence of a 150-year-old sports club.

Sudbury Rowing Club is a modest rowing club in a bucolic Suffolk market town. It’s volunteer-run and, like many amateur sports clubs, needs a constant stream of new members.

Alt text fot image.
The new Sudbury Rowing Club landing page.

Since the mid-nineteenth century it’s held annual regattas (dubbed ‘Little Henley’ and renowned in appropriate circles) on its work-of-Constable water meadows, which attract far-flung competitors and spectators and are pretty important.

Online early, the club has more than 25 years of news archives and old information.

What I did

Marketing

This is a marketing site.

I built clear routes for users who’re contemplating joining the club. There’s a persistent, ‘join’ route:

  1. a lot of calls-to-actions
  2. a mega-sub-landing page that triages users and slims down a mountain of content to the that’s relevant to each user
  3. a set of neat forms that reduce friction for potential members but send to appropriate club volunteers and reduce internal admin
Screenshot of tabbed interface on the Sudbury Rowing Club website.
Site-wide CTAs lead to a clear and helpful ‘Join’ page.

The club’s regatta needed separate treatment. The existing dodgy marketing/essential-safety-info page had evolved into a crackingly effective WYSIWYG tour-de-force. It had enough traffic that Google seemed to have done the AI schema thing, and cleverly extracted important info hidden in <em> tags.

Screenshot of tabbed interface on the Sudbury Rowing Club website.
All the traffic from the old regatta subpages is now routed to a tabbed interface on a single mega-page.

I turned this successful part of the site into a richer single-page jobbie that respected popular URLs like /regatta/course-plan and /regatta/results but would drop users into a tabbed section of a self-contained regatta page.

A place of record

This site should be the place-of-record for certain datasets.

It wasn’t part of the brief, but I thought it would be useful to build a neat single-page representation of the club’s governance. I built that: a simple, static statement of all the executive and non-executive club officers, with role descriptions drawn from the club’s constitution.

But more fun is possible. We inherited more than a decade of Wordpress page updates to the list of committee members. Add some research, and we can provide several decades of archival data.

Color scheme

The club has a constitutionally enshrined color scheme: ‘The Club colours shall be Oxford Blue and White’. The historian in me gets excited by the etymological challenge in accurately defining textually described colours, but in practise those words were probably only written in the 80s and the club’s use of ‘Oxford Blue and White’ is very much alive.

I was reluctant to play fast or loose with something as official-sounding as a constitutional colour scheme, so borrowed Oxford University’s Pantone 282 definition of Oxford Blue, something that others before probably also did, since it’s a near-perfect match to the club’s blue physical objects.

From the constitutional blue, I trial-and-errored an five-step blue shade scale. To offset Oxford Blue’s slightly austere, desaturated feel, I added a bright, vegetal green scale (drawn from Sudbury’s water meadows) and a purple-tinted grey scale.

Oxford Blue
Brand 900 (PMS 282)
#002147
Mondrian Blue
Brand 700
#094284
Mimesis Blue
Brand 500
#1A71C2
Azure
Brand 300
#289EFF
Sky
Brand 50
#C4E4FF
White
#fff
Viridian
Success 700
#17845C
Emerald
Success 500
#56C576
Granny Smith
Success 300
#B4EA95
Peppermint
Success 50
#E7F6E3
Prune
Grey 900
#201C3D
Plum
Grey 700
#32305D
Space Cadet
Grey 500
#4E5677
Blue Suede
Grey 300
#6A7B91
Wash Me
Grey 50
#F7F9FC

Reinterpreting the club crest

The club’s crest is great and goes back gawd-knows-how-many years. It’s a composite of the Sudbury town arms and a crossed pair of rowing blades.

The dominant version of the crest in circulation was a low res scan of a satisfyingly well-balanced ink and watercolour sketch. This, naturally, had it’s limititations – so much so that one of the kit manufacturers had taken matters into its own hands and produced a primarily-red, much more pracitcal version of its own.

The plan here was to faithfully reinterpret the characterful sketched crests as a simpler, monochrome vector graphic.

Crest digitisation -2020
New crest digitisation 2020-

Ninety per cent of my interpretation is a stroke-for-stroke reproduction, and it’s definitely still pretty complex, but I removed:

  • the shading - it’s more versatile if those distinctions can be made with negative space.

  • the esoteric bits - the effect is heraldic enough without a medievally vicious dog.

  • digital artefacts - the disappearing hatching and strange stroke-widths were never meant to look like that.

  • analogue artefacts - grain, drastic assymmetry, over- and underpainting look cool, but the result is better once it’s simplified out.

It’s not intended as a redesign – ideally no one notices the change – but it’s gently optimised for clarity, versatility and performance.

Detail from of the most-detailed old digitisation
The same detail in the new digitisation

sudburyrowingclub.org.uk