Scarborough Boat Works

It’s a great honor to have built the new public website and online store for legendary Scarborough Boatworks. Since 1977 they have been hand crafting luxury sport fishing boats, defining the Carolina style that other boatbuilders aim to follow. When the writers of a popular boating publication asked another renowned boat builder to describe the boat that best captures the essence of a Carolina sport fisherman, he said without hesitation: “It’s a Ricky boat”, referring to Ricky Scarborough.

Site is live at:

The Task

Like so many companies, their once fresh website now failed to reflect the quality and beauty of their product, so they tasked me with designing and implementing a new site as well as adding an online store for selling merchandise.

The Process

With little more design input than the logo and the boats themselves I heavily researched other sport fisherman boat builders, luxury yachts and luxury cars. The aesthetic was to draw on the family legacy dating back to the original boats built in the 70s while still coming across as innovative and forward-thinking. The site should represent the rich heritage and family tradition combined with an innovative and aesthetic edge that goes into building multi-million dollar boats. The product they sell is sleek, powerful and luxurious. The men who build them are weathered, meticulous craftsmen who grew up on the ocean with oil and dirt on their hands. The look-and-feel had to come across as classy without being snobby. Robust while still aesthetically pleasing. Sport fishing boats draw their roots back to more functional vessels of strictly commercial fishermen who rely on their crafts for income and survival. The site had to balance a representation of these boats as luxurious pleasure-crafts and high powered, reliable ocean going machines. The process involved wireframing all major pages and views. Since Scarborough does not have an official corporate visual identity the project included suggesting a the look and feel for the overall design, based on the logo, research and the boats themselves.

The Product

The final product is a slick and easily updateable WordPress solution with an integrated WooCommerce online store. The store use the same payment gateway as their in-office card reader, so all purchases go the same place. Nice and simple. No need to learn a new system for the website. Like the boats, the site features swooshing clear lines and plenty of white space. The balances required are especially pronounced in the font choices. ‘Lato’ small-caps is used for headlines, echoing but not replicating the secondary logo font. The style is decisive and precise, demanding attention in a sleek modern fashion. For the body font ‘Libre Baskerville’ represents the craftsmanship and legacy without being snobbish. The font is highly legible and elegant without compromising its function. The boats are front and center what carries the design. Quality photography was available and as always, really made a difference. The boats come first, contrasted with detail shots, showcasing the attention to detail that goes into the boats. Vintage photographs from the early years add their own legitimacy to the claim of tradition, especially apparent on the ‘Our Story page’ – no image filters required!