16 September 2023

Review: The Little Guide to Giving Poster Presentations

Cover to "The Little Guide to Giving Poster Presentations"
The Little Guide to Giving Poster Presentations is well named. It is, indeed, little.

Perhaps too little.

John Bond’s book weighs in at 150 pages, and they are kind of small pages, too. A fast reader can probably skim through this in a day without too much trouble. That this is a quick read is not necessarily a bad thing. Part of it is because Bond’s prose is clear.

Unfortunately, the book’s treatment of its subject also encourages skimming, because sometimes there isn’t as much depth as you would hope for.

Posters are a visual medium, so you might that a book about posters would be illustrated. But you don’t get to a diagram until Chapter 11. There’s one more figure in that chapter, and then nothing. And they aren’t in colour, either.

Sometimes, Bond even draws attention to the “little” of the title. In Chapter 21, he writes:

Information regarding color choices for charts and graphs could fill a whole chapter or even a book (and likely does).

But then, having drawn our attention to the rich subject of colour use in data visualizations, Bond ends the chapter a couple of pages later. Without pointers to other resources. (The book’s references are few and far between.)

There are some bright spots. This is the first book about conference posters that mentions the changes to the academic conference scene wrought by the ongoing covid pandemic. I also appreciated a section about how to estimate costs of attending conference, which I don’t remember seeing in other poster making resources.

While I craved more depth, I don’t fault most of the recommendations that Bond makes. The advice is consistently good. Bond feels more comfortable with writing: the book devotes three sections about planning and writing, but only one section to design, and one to presenting.

Bond’s book will help those who read it, and I am sure some readers will appreciate its readily digestible format. And the book contributes to the push to try to get people to take posters more seriously. There were next to no books to conference posters for so long that I’m pleased to see more arriving in this space


Bond J. 2023. The Little Guide to Giving Poster Presentations. Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475870152/The-Little-Guide-to-Giving-Poster-Presentations-Simple-Steps-to-Success

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