The All-important Second Edition

It was like a second Christmas here yesterday. Fedex delivered samples of three major textbook titles containing our design work. We are most excited about seeing and holding the all-important second edition of Visual Anatomy & Physiology.

Jim holds the second edition of Visual Anatomy & Physiology

Over a year in the making, it sure is great to hold this baby.

The first edition was wonderfully successful, selling over 20,000 copies into a market where half that counts as a winner. But many professors simply do not trust a first edition of any textbook. And that’s a hesitation I can understand. Writing, illustrating, and designing a new 1000-page science textbook is such a major undertaking that it is bound to fall short in at least a few respects. With second and succeeding editions, everyone has time to refine and polish the thing until it really shines.

I’m very proud of this edition of Visual Anatomy & Physiology. In particular, we extended and reworked all of that usually unloved, end-of-chapter review and self-test material until it was as good as we would want it to be if we were taking this course ourselves. With most textbooks, this material is never seen by the designers, but rather falls into the hands of compositors whose only real goal is to see how small and compact they can make it so the book doesn’t get too long. In this edition, the publisher let us design and lay out all of the end-of-chapter material and we think it is dramatically better for it.

Because the publisher, Pearson, is the biggest textbook publisher in the world, they have the resources to extensively test these books. The feedback from students is the most rewarding thing. Here is a sampling …

“The reading hits every point so clearly …. Best textbook ever!”  –Tanielle Dobson

“I study better now than I ever have before.”  –Courtney Poland

“Visual A&P really improved my grade.”  –Callistus Nwobu

“This textbook genuinely helped me understand concepts better than my current textbook. I would retake this class next year if this book was our textbook and would understand everything perfectly. I’m so jealous of next year’s class if they get this textbook.”  –Allison Walker

Visual Anatomy & Physiology side view

At almost 2″ thick and over 1,100 pages, this is one hefty body of knowledge.

When we work on a project like this for more than a year, we begin to wonder whether it will ever become a real book. But here it is. Almost 2″ thick. Over 1,100 detailed and beautifully illustrated pages, all prepared in a new way that makes this daunting body of knowledge clear and accessible. Very gratifying.


JIM GIBSON earned his BA in English (yes, English) from the University of Virginia. Nevertheless, he has enjoyed a long career in the graphic arts that spans a broad set of technologies, skills, and interests. Since the early 1980s he has operated his own design studio with an impressive list of satisfied clients.