Barques crosses finish line for Great Run website update


Last month, the UK’s largest mass participation sports business The Great Run Company unveiled leading investment platform AJ Bell as its title sponsor.

In the run up to the announcement, Barques was asked to refresh Great Run’s website to incorporate the title sponsor’s branding. Conversations for the project began last year and with a tight deadline for completion, our team needed to transform the site’s appearance in just over a month. 

In running terms, this was more of a 400 metre sprint than a marathon. 

Building momentum

Having grown a strong relationship with The Great Run Company for nearly three years and collaborated with them on the website, we were thrilled to support the organisation with the visual disclosure of their title sponsor. 

Tasked with changing the colour palette of Great Run’s website, our design team were required to strike an appealing blend of AJ Bell’s crimson red with the navy blue of Great Run; balance was key to this process with the primary red needing to have a dominant presence without overshadowing the Great Run brand. 

The new palette also needed to cater to the existing features as well as new images, content and lock up logos (a combination of AJ Bell’s emblem sat directly above the logos of Great Run’s events to form a new logo). 

To offer both parties a chance to assess different layouts, our design team provided page mockups which illustrated how the colours could be implemented and established a staging site with the amendments once a layout had been chosen. 

The home straight 

Vivid in its immediate promotion of the AJ Bell brand, the most obvious transformation to the revised website is the red navigation bar running along the top of each page, which features the sponsor’s logo in white on the right hand side. 

To segment page sections, red, grey and blue blocks have been introduced with the grey shapes placed in between to prevent the bold primary and secondary colours from contradicting or overwhelming each other. 

The same shade of grey, which was taken from AJ Bell’s palette, was used for the mega menu as well as for icons, buttons and text.

Sleek, modern and exuding Great Run’s personality, the updated online platform proudly showcases the sponsor without taking away from the main organisation. 

And thanks to a corresponding PR campaign, the site makeover has already been experienced by a flood of spectators. 

In the first four days of the updates going live, there was a 78 percent spike in users and a further 18.9 percent rise in the average session duration. 

Previous achievements

Barques has had the pleasure of working with The Great Run Company for over two years and was initially approached to build a new online platform for the organisation. 

Complete with a results database, the site enables participants to track training content, reserve event places and monitor personal results. 

Such functions are reinforced by geolocation tools which display training content to users based on ability, geography and training goals. 

New fonts, graphic devices and an expanded colour palette were all developed as part of the project and proved so successful that the Great Run’s internal design team adopted the styling across all of their marketing, social media and email campaigns. 

And we have continued to support the company since, providing A/B testing, collaborating on new features, enhancing events pages and delivering SEO services.

Katie French, digital project director at Barques, said: “We are honoured to work with the biggest mass participation sports business in the UK and cherish the strong relationship we have with The Great Run Company to this day. 

“The delivery of a new colour palette for their online platform was an exciting opportunity to be involved in and one which presented minimal challenges thanks to the high quality of the website we originally created.” 

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