05 April 2021

Writing a “forever book”

It's only forever, not long at all
One of the things I aspired to do in the Better Poster book was to come as close as I could to writing a “forever book.” 

I think I spotted the phrase in something written by Edward Tufte; maybe in his forum. Certainly his book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1982) feels valuable more than 40 years on.

So in the Better Posters book, I tried as much as possible to think about general principles. I didn’t want to delve into the details of how to align things in PowerPoint. I wanted this book to have a long shelf life. I didn’t want it to be like the first book on poster design I reviewed in the early days of this blog: it hadn’t aged well and felt horribly dated.

I knew “forever” was going to be impossible. But I had my eye on the long game. I was hoping I could write a book that would still feel current and useful in, say, 2030. At least.

Of course, we all know that pandemic hit in 2020 and that conferences (and therefore poster sessions) as we knew them stopped. The pandemic accelerated trends that I thought might be ten years away and pushed them to now.

So it will be very interesting to see if the book will be overtaken by events. Can any book about pre-pandemic events still feel fresh and relevant in a post-pandemic world?

We shall see.

Related posts

Review: Scientist’s Guide to Poster Presentations

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