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garyleestories

Building a Website for Redstart Consulting

Gary Miller

One of the great pleasures of my commercial writing work is collaborating with great designers. It's not just that they make my work look great, although that's a big plus. It's that they have a different kind of mind than I do, and it's really fun to see that mind in action. Over the past couple years, I've done a good bit of work with Gabe Halberg of Dadra Design. Although you might know Gabe for his drumming work with his band 35th Parallel and with many of Central Vermont's hottest jazz outfits, his graphic design and Web development skills are top notch.

Recently, Gabe and I teamed up to do a new website for Redstart Consulting, a natural resource management group in Corinth, Vermont. As is the case with many of the clients we work with, Redstart has a big story to tell. That's in part because they take a forward-looking approach to managing their clients' land: they look at the big picture literally from the soil up, and build management plans that focus on that perfect balance between productivity and sustainability. 

Telling Redstart's story meant making some careful content choices. We couldn't say everything, but we had to provide enough detail about their approach to differentiate them from their competitors. In that regard, Redstart's Ben Machin provided great guidance, helping us create the kind of dialogue between creatives and clients that Web development projects need to succeed.

Design-wise, Gabe faced his own challenge: how to present all that information in an inviting package that was a pleasure to look at and navigate, and in which images, type, and other design choices gave site visitors an immediate sense of Redstart and how they work. Over time, as I watched the draft and revised pages come in, I saw Gabe shape a vision that really captured the company's essence.

When Gabe sent me a link to the live site the other day, I couldn't wait to check it out. It was, after all, the culmination of months of team-based collaboration, and I wanted to see if all that work held up. As I moved through the site, I couldn't help but feel that we got it right, that we'd told the Redstart story with economy, grace, and power. This is the kind of stuff that makes a writer's day—or week, for that matter. Thanks Gabe. And thanks, Ben. It's been a pleasure working with you.