Our New 2019 Catalog: Change for the Better

Natural Habitat Adventures September 3, 2018 11

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”
— Anthony Bourdain

I’m sitting in my office with an advance copy of Nat Hab and WWF’s 2019 Catalog of the World’s Greatest Nature Journeys. A few weeks ago, I returned to Vancouver, British Columbia to oversee its printing, and today, the brand-new 136-page catalog in my hands signifies the departure of last year’s gorilla cover and the debut of one very handsome polar bear (whom I’ve been lovingly referring to as “Barry”).

2019 Catalog press check

But that’s not the only change reflected in our new travel catalog. A whole season of experience, learning, reflecting and improving is on full display in its pages. And I hope you’ll find the changes you see as appealing as I do.

We generally start catalog production in February, rolling out some early concepts and ideas. We review all our marketing collateral, including the seemingly still-fresh catalog from the previous year, and start to spitball ideas of how we can continue to improve our overall message.

Press check for the 2019 catalog

© Mark Hickey

As Nat Hab’s Creative Director, this can be a rather stressful time for me. Just a few months earlier, we had celebrated the printing of the last catalog. We poured our hearts and souls into making that iteration the best possible catalog ever. And we achieved that (I couldn’t love that mountain gorilla cover more!). Yet at Nat Hab, our work is shaped by our company’s Core Ideologies—guiding tenets that allow us to make consistent business decisions based upon predetermined principles. These represent our most deeply held values—why we show up in the morning, what we are committed to, and how we conduct ourselves as a company and as individuals.

One of these Core Ideologies is to Continually Improve as a Company and as Individuals. Thus, the start-up process of a new catalog season usually begins with “Okay…what can we possibly change to make this next catalog even better?”

{Deep breath}

Checking the colors of the 2019 catalog covers

© Mark Hickey

We start with an overall catalog theme or direction—an attempt to instill a sense of wonder and inspiration to all who browse its pages. At the outset, we tear it down and build it back up, beginning with a fresh canvas and playing with page layout. This is the 16th catalog I’ve designed for Nat Hab, and some general rules always apply. We don’t change the main ingredients, but we find ways to simplify while adding more spice—enhancing the overall presentation, scouring our libraries for even more riveting images, upgrading the written content, refining the overall flow…

{Deep breath}

Reviewing every detail of the 2019 catalog

© Mark Hickey

Out of our brainstorming sessions came this focus: Nature is inspirational. Nature keeps body, mind and spirit healthy. Nature travel is good for you.

This year, we tried to get excess text out of the way and let nature shine through. I hope you too will find this catalog gorgeous to look at. It features stunning images that jump off its pages. It is printed on 100-percent post-consumer waste (PCW), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper. That means 100 percent of the material the catalog is printed on was formerly someone else’s copy paper, direct mail flyer, billing statement or magazine. The catalog material is 100-percent reused, 100-percent re-purposed, in keeping with another Nat Hab Core Ideology: Consistently Raise the Bar on Conservation. Check.

{Celebratory clap}

Envelope for the World Wildlife Fund 2019 nature travel catalog

2019 catalog envelope image © Wim van den Heever / NPL / Minden Pictures

The catalog highlights 68 of our trips in vibrant color. Once more, we featured four World Wildlife Fund conservation success stories, as well as a dozen or so WWF in Action blurbs, keeping conservation at the top of mind for our readers and maintaining our status as one of the leading conservation travel providers in the industry. We hope our new catalog leaves a mark on you, inspiring you to get out and discover—and protect—this amazing planet.

So much thought, time and effort goes into every aspect of the catalog. It truly is an amazing team effort. Writers. Photographers. Designers. Artists. Image Databases. Destination Managers. Trip Owners. Adventure Concierges. Pressman. Data. Lists. Pricing. Dates. Numbers. Ink. Postage. Shipping. So many talented cooks in our collective kitchen work for months to make this project happen.*

I say this every year, but I truly feel this is our best effort to date. The process works—and in a few short months we will start it…all over…again.

{Deep breath!}

Front cover World Wildlife Fund 2019 nature travel catalog

2019 catalog front cover image © Paul Souders / Minden Pictures

* The 2019 catalog is designed by Mark Hickey and Devin Law. Written by Wendy Redal, Jennie Lay, Ben Bressler, Mark Hickey, Ted Martens, Sandy Shannon, Sarah Raby, Tricia Brennan, Anne Avellana, Renata Haas, Ami Jones, Conor Frantzen, Sara Higgins, Kate Willingham, Emily Kleinburd, Justin Brown, Kit Longnecker and Nick Grossman. 2019 catalog front cover image © Paul Souders / Minden Pictures. Back cover image © Vincent Grafhorst / Minden Pictures.

This guest post was written by Natural Habitat Adventures Creative Director Mark Hickey.


  1. Tamara Truswell November 21, 2018 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I just joined for the first time early this year and I never joined or donated to anything like this before. I love ❤ donating cause it makes me feel good knowing I’m doing something to help the animals and nature from a distance. I enjoy reading about what all the people are doing for the wildlife. I don’t travel much or too far, but I did go places with my grandparents as a kid 👦. I loved going through the woods to see what nature looked like and hopefully will do it again. I wish I could travel with U to see what it’s like, but I can’t afford too. At least I can enjoy it on here and the calendar 📅 and U do beautiful artwork and take good pictures. Thanks for doing what U are doing and keep up the good work and hopefully for many years to come. And I will keep donating as long as I can. Thank you for everything.

  2. Sandra C Woodward October 17, 2018 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Wow! Every year I think, “This is the best catalogue to date” and every year I am surprised and delighted by the new catalogue. You philosophy is truly represented in your incredible catalogue!!
    It is like receiving a beautiful coffee table book as a gift!
    Thank You!!

  3. Pat Clifton October 17, 2018 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Your catalogs are like coffee table books. Gorgeous pictures and I leave the catalog out for all to enjoy.
    Each year I volunteer for a Thanksgiving parade and just like the parade as soon as one is done, the planning starts over again! Great job!

  4. Ruth Nurnberg October 17, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

    There are so many tempting trips in the catalog. My Nat Hab Secluded Botswana trip remains my best trip ever! I plan to go on more Nat Hab adventures, as able. I would like to see more trips of an easy activity level. I can walk 1-3 miles on city sidewalks, probably less on natural terrain. I’d love to go to Portugal with Nat Hab, but not on a kayaking trip. Please consider adding these trips.

  5. ardy piazza September 10, 2018 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    do you have a nat hab gear store catalog to mail out ?

  6. Evan September 10, 2018 at 8:48 am - Reply

    That is a great picture of the lion.i love the eyes and the background is perfect for the mood the face suggests.ej

  7. janet tosh September 10, 2018 at 7:01 am - Reply

    this is on top of my to do list we are both in our sixtes this my top wish to do I have been round some lovely places but this is the main thing I want to do

  8. Susie Elmore September 6, 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Always love your catalogues and the trip to the Tundra Train. I am looking forward to the next one and have to say what a magnificent photo the lion in the rain is; I wish it was the catalogue cover, or at least an inside picture rather the the envelope. Don’t trust the post office to treat it without some tears and staining. Oh well, at least the catalogue will show many other wonderful pictures and places to see.

  9. M Archer September 6, 2018 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Amazing work! Thanks for sharing so many details behind such work!

  10. tammy September 5, 2018 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Thank you for your effort and service. I am 60, retired, and don’t go anywhere! I read about creating your own ‘galapagos’ in your own yard…which I took to mean appreciating and taking care of the wildlife available to you (me). So I do just that…birds, squirrels, and at night raccoons come by. Appreciate reading this ‘behind the scenes’ article. Thank you!

  11. Karen Schwarz September 5, 2018 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Barry looks very happy that you are going with recycled paper for the catalog! Having “chased” polar bears with my camera (in a Tundra Buggy), I appreciate the photography in your catalog. I look forward to receiving the new one and hopefully joining you on an adventure!!

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