Words of Welcome

Indiana Raptor Center website grand opening
Welcome to the new website for the Indiana Raptor Center! I’m so happy to be sharing it with the world, and I’d like to share a bit about its creation. My name is David Orr, and I worked with my wife Jennie to build this new site for the people and the birds of InRC.

The process that brought us to this day took months, beginning with research and rethinking of the site’s structure, a phase largely guided by Jennie’s intuitive feel for usability and navigability and her sharp critical eye. We looked at dozens and dozens of other sites in the field of wildlife care to see what they did well and not so well. We seriously evaluated what improvements we could make to InRC’s old site to make it work with today’s rapidly evolving web.

Our first goal was to craft a site that worked perfectly on smartphones and other mobile devices. Not only are smartphones becoming more popular in browsing the web, it’s likely that someone who is in immediate need of a wildlife rescue organization would be using a phone to find help: standing on the side of the road near an injured bird, unsure of what to do, the path to speaking to a wildlife rehabilitator should be quick and free of obstruction. Second, InRC needed the site to more prominently serve as a way to seek donations. Contrary to popular belief, they receive no public money to do their work and depend on the generosity of donors. Finally, the site needed an aesthetic makeover focusing on fulfilling the first two goals.

Since the first two goals hopefully speak for themselves through the functioning of the site, I’d like to write a bit about my aesthetic choices. The work InRC does is hands-on, intimate, and personal. I decided to take a similar approach with the site’s visual design. A hand-made, somewhat rustic, personal look inspired by printmaking seemed like a promising way forward.

To that end, the new header graphic incorporates the InRC “eagle and cabin” logo in the style of a woodblock stamp. The fonts I picked out for the header and other headlines on the site also fit this printmaking-inspired direction. All of these fonts are digital translations of vintage wood type from the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, who have a local connection in their relationship with Indiana University School of Fine Arts and its famous typeshop. In expressing the unique personality and the heart and soul that makes InRC special, this collection of fonts seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

The color scheme, nicknamed “Kestrel” for the little falcon that inspired it, was similarly thought out. Its palette of teal, steely blue, orange, yellow, and tan isn’t too serious, and is flexible enough to allow a variety of color combinations on a spectrum from more to less playful.

The "kestrel" color scheme and headline fonts chosen for the new InRC  website design.

The “kestrel” color scheme and headline fonts chosen for the new website design.

While the work of InRC is often heartbreaking, I am continually impressed by the playful, joyous personality that persists among the staff. I’ll never forget my very first meeting with Laura Edmunds, in the fall of 2011. Jennie and I were visiting InRC as I hoped to take photographs for my first project as a graphic design MFA candidate at IU. We drove out to the hills of Nashville, knocked on the door, and were greeted by a woman who said were were just on time for our tour of the pickle factory.

The sharper of the two of us, Jennie still thinks it’s hilarious that Laura duped me into a bashful apology. While I don’t have the particular skills and knowledge to directly rehabilitate injured birds, I have tried to express the personality of the organization, guided by my own love of raptors, with this site.

Thank you for reading and here’s to many more years of success to InRC!

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