Website for a rowing 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.
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
This is a marketing site.
I built clear routes for users who’re contemplating joining the club. There’s a persistent, ‘join’ route:
- a lot of calls-to-actions
- a mega-sub-landing page that triages users and slims down a mountain of content to the that’s relevant to each user
- a set of neat forms that reduce friction for potential members but send to appropriate club volunteers and reduce internal admin
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
I turned this successful part of the site into a richer single-page jobbie that respected popular URLs like
/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.
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.
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.
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.