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Radley College Case Study - Creating a School Website That Reflects a Quintessential British Brand
Olivia Malaure

Did you know that Radley College lent its name to the thirty-first steam locomotive in the Southern Railway's Class V? This class was also known as the 'Schools' class because all forty of the class were named after prominent English independent schools. The 'Radley' nameplate is now displayed in the stationery department of the College's shop.

The Radley College website takes you on a British-centric journey across one of the four boys - boarding - only, independent senior schools in the United Kingdom. Entering the website, the first stop is a series of prominent banners promoting events and news of the school. The goal of this particular school website was not just to drive admissions, but to deliver topical content to its varied audiences. It is designed to bring the community together and in turn strengthen the growing Radley College brand. The website is a communication tool that stands proudly next to other quintessential British brands.

Radley School Website

So how does a school that was founded in 1847 encapsulate its rich history, capture the essence of its current leadership and portray its commitment to moving forward...all in one website? The answer is surprisingly simple....through its people. But even this simple solution becomes complex when there are 441 pages that make up the story. Head of Design at Finalsite UK, Kealan Duffy said, "Radley wanted their audience to see the warmth and sincerity that lies beneath the grandeur of the school, they wanted a website that was personal, but not sentimental."

On every page we see people, and as the website unfolds, we're introduced to these intriguing characters. In The Meet the Staff page we meet the members of the school's faculties from the Master of Adventurers to the Head of Mathematics - you quickly get an insight into the personalities that make up the Radley experience. The Meet the Boys page highlights the range of activities the boys participate in, from fly-fishing to playing the organ. These Meet the Staff and Meet the Boys pages offer a glimpse into the uniqueness of the school.

Radley People

To deliver this message more effectively, the website also introduces a refreshed brand identity. Radley's visual marketing had become increasingly contemporary in previous years and the new design project was the perfect opportunity to restore the balance of heritage. The new logo features modernised cross-keys from the school's traditional seal, complimented by distinguished shades of burgundy and dark grey throughout the colour palette.

Improving user experience was an important goal from the outset and it was clear the existing content needed a lot of streamlining to help achieve this. Getting this right would be a long term effort however, so the new design needed flexibility to communicate the large volume currently in play at launch. There was going to be a lot of writing on the pages of this website! The challenge was dealt with head on through a redesign of the menu structure and the introduction of emotive video and photography features to create engaging balance between head and heart.

The school's prominent video department reaches the community through a vibrant public video portal. The Video Gallery successfully blends informal day to day internal coverage with high end professional marketing pieces. Traditional media exists harmoniously next to contemporary media in the publications page, which serves as an online library of newsletters. The website also features a Social Media Showcase page, also known as a mashup, which means that visitors can find out what Radley are publishing on social media without leaving the website and being susceptible to the distractions of other content on social media.

Radley Social Media Showcase

The Radley College website has become a valuable communications hub for the community, whilst still offering the welcoming experience expected for prospective families at the start of their journey. It's also a remarkable and evolving library of visual and written content, where old meets new, and that is successful in reaching a wider audience though the power of digital marketing.


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