Deputy Design Director Peter Herbert is an adventurous guy. Behind a quiet manner and mellifluous British accent lies a questing spirit, one that has led him on forays up Surinam's Marowijne River to study the art and culture of the local tribes, to the Amazon (he found it "too set up for tourists") and to Haiti several times. Each year, Herbert, 31, chooses a country, does some research and plans at least one adventure.
Acquisitions from each trip—the three Haitian carnival masks that adorn his office, the mahogany carvings from Surinam in his Manhattan flat, for example—are reminders of the richness of his travels. "Exploring beyond the usual tourist stops makes each trip more authentic," says Herbert. For his journey up the Marowijne, he took the local form of transportation—a dugout canoe powered by an outboard motor. The boat nearly capsized in rapids, but Herbert kept the experience in perspective. "The whole community uses the river as we would use the street," he says.
Herbert's traveling ways began when his family moved from Kitwe, in what was then Northern Rhodesia, to Chaldon, England, when he was three. His fascination with the U.S. began during a summer vacation in California four years later. "It was sunny," says Herbert. "There was fresh-squeezed orange juice, and I learned how to swim. For a British kid, it was fantasyland." A two-month bus tour of the U.S. when he was 17 further intrigued him. After graduating from Bristol Polytechnic with a degree in graphic design in 1978, Herbert went to work for World Business Weekly, and when the magazine moved from London to New York, he moved with it. He has been here ever since.
Herbert came to SI eight months ago from Personal Computing, where he had been art director. "One reason I wanted to have Peter on the staff," says design director Steven Hoffman, "was that he didn't grow up with American sports. They're new to him for the most part, and he brings a fresh view and tremendous enthusiasm to his work."
Herbert has found that "sports are another way for me to find out more about America." He has become a New York Yankees fan—he saw Reggie Jackson hit his 400th home run—and has a passing interest in American football. The task of finding a photogenic bowling ball to accompany senior writer Frank Deford's essay on bowling (SI, Jan. 25) aroused his curiosity about that sport. He still has the ball and on most Saturday nights can be found using it at Madison Square Garden Bowling Center.
As with his near-mishap on the Marowijne, Herbert seems unfazed by long hours and deadline pressures. "That British accent makes everyone feel he has everything under control." says Hoffman.