Bay Nature

Redesigning Bay Nature Magazine

October 1, 2018

Bay Nature magazine’s fresh look and new range of stories are the result of a yearlong process, dozens of meetings, input from subscribers, magazine professionals, and the full Bay Nature staff. As we brainstormed and experimented, we returned to a list of words that the staff agreed upon the new Bay Nature design should embody:

Curiosity. Hope. Usefulness. Engagement. Democratic (everyone is involved and invited) ideals. Provocative ideas.


Above all else, we want Bay Nature to be read, shared, and remembered. Our new page design has more white/negative space so that stories can shine, department names and headlines are clear for easier navigation, and larger photographs and illustrations speak for themselves. We want readers to graze our Bay Nature Almanac, Community Bulletin, and Nature in the Arts sections, while digging into deeply reported, beautifully written features and partner content.


We developed a color palette that reflects nature in the Bay Area each season and the magazine’s quarterly publication. From the wide array of greens, to the many colors of the ocean, to the saturated colors of flowers, each swatch represents a moment found in Bay Area nature. We created four seasonal palettes that visually nod to spring, summer, fall, winter, including each season’s sky, the color of the grasses, trees, ground, and the essence of its weather.


We developed a collection of three fonts that work to telegraph the unique, modern, authoritative voice of Bay Nature. These typefaces are fresh, a bit unpredictable, evocative of the past, yet firmly planted in the present.

Body copy: Argos

Our new body copy is called Argos, a rounded serif that’s readable and versatile. It conveys authority while still feeling fresh and playful. It’s ambitious, modern, has a strong presence on the page, and perfectly matches the mission of Bay Nature’s redesign.

Sans serif: Ideal Sans

Ideal Sans began as an attempt to reclaim the Humanist style, and it feels “of the hand.” Unlike most sans serifs, the design contains almost no straight lines, very few symmetries, and it takes every opportunity to resist formulaic rules. Ideal Sans is a warm, organic, and handmade feeling font.

Display/Headlines: Big Caslon

Part of the Caslon foundry—a font originally drawn in the 1700s—Big Caslon was reimagined as a display font in 2014. It’s forceful, authoritative, and a bit eccentric. Caslon nods to the past in its classicism, yet its redrawn iteration feels fresh and inspired. The font rounds out Bay Nature’s new Big Three.


The new logo was drawn from nostalgia and memory, yet is modern, surprising, and fresh. The logo will not be confused with any other. Bay Nature takes on the future with this new mark, while paying attention to the past. We based the logo on the typeface, Lydian, a calligraphic-like, sans serif font. It’s an unexpected choice, not seen on any other nature magazine.


After months of throwing around taglines and not finding quite the right one, someone noticed the quote “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” taped on the office wall above Regina Starr Ridley’s desk. We shortened that to “Look into nature and understand everything better.” The quote is widely attributed to Albert Einstein, although we’ve yet to find the document, speech, or context in which he made it. (If you do, let us know!) Regardless of its origins, the quote’s intent embodies all the things we hope Bay Nature imparts: Curiosity, hope, usefulness, engagement, democratic values, and provocative ideas.

Enjoy Bay Nature’s second look.

About the Author

Victoria Schlesinger is the editor in chief of Bay Nature.