redesigning Sierra over the past six months, and with this issue our work
is nearly complete. We've added new departments such as "Lay of the
Land," "Home Front," "Natural Resources," and
"Photo Op," and reinvigorated our type and art to make a better,
more contemporary magazine. Everyone on our staff has contributed ideas,
as have dozens of readers. But the bulk of the work has fallen on the Sierra
The term "department" is a little misleading.
Sierra's look is crafted by a part-time staff of two, art director Martha
Geering and designer Nina Moore. Geering's challenge was to figure out
how to translate vague editorial exhortations (Make it more daring! And
more lively! And easier to read!) into vivid images. Moore's task was to
help with the production of the new design, making sure all the details
were carefully executed.
You may recall our old "Priorities" department:
three environmental news articles, well written but sparsely illustrated
and loaded with grim, gray type. The stories tapped the power of words,
but seldom the power of images, saying in effect, "Only the most dedicated
shall enter here." Geering and Moore helped us devise a news department
that is just as informative but more inviting. "Lay of the Land".
In our travel and domestic-ecology departments, "Good
Going," "Hearth & Home," and "Way to Go",
Geering and freelance designer Dian-Aziza Ooka concocted eye-pleasing ways
to satisfy hurried browsers by incorporating bold titles, more colorful
type, and illustrated information boxes. New hues also add to the lively
look: a slate blue, an earthy red, a beaming yellow, and a fresh bright
To help you take a stand, we've introduced "Crimes
Against Nature," a column that will alert you to a top-priority conservation
battle each issue. Our new "Natural Resources" department provides
activist tools, too, in the form of reviews of Web sites, videos, and books,
plus a column called "Mythbuster" that dissects conventional
wisdom about environmental issues. Throughout, we are highlighting the
fascinating people who enjoy, explore, and protect the planet, whether
they are the activists heralded in "Home Front", the luminaries
quoted in "Last Words", or the magazine-makers described here.
Saving for last what you may have noticed first, we have a taller, stronger
Sierra logo on our cover, devised by Geering and logo designer Jim Parkinson.
Magazine guru and former New York magazine editor Clay
Felker warns that a headstrong art director can take a magazine "right
off a cliff." That may be true at some publications, but here, Geering
routinely moves us to new heights.