Pages from Dee Silverthorn's Human Physiology

Benjamin Cummings
Human Physiology—An Integrated Approach

Dee Silverthorn’s Human Physiology was our first textbook design project, and it was something we sort of backed into in an unusual way. The illustrators for this book are Bill Ober and Claire Garrison of Medical & Scientific Illustration, who happen to share a hometown with Gibson Design Associates. Being in related businesses in a small town, our paths eventually crossed and we began to consult with Bill and Claire about how to improve the effectiveness of the data presentation in their illustrations. A couple of years later they proposed—and convinced their publisher—that GDA should design the entire book. Like most textbooks, the appearance of this one left lots of room for improvement, but we were primarily intrigued by the organizational and pedagogical challenges of the project.

Human Physiology turned out to be the perfect book to be our first. It’s a little known fact that most textbook authors are full-time authors, not professors that continue to teach. This is not the case with Dee Silverthorn, who continues to teach and therefore stays in close touch with how well her textbook functions in the lives of everyday students. The “Integrated Approach” in the title of her book is the result. This is not just a collection of information about how the human body works, but a program that teaches students how to absorb that information and use it to solve real-world problems.

It was our pleasure and privilege to design a book that facilitated this mission.

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