Who designed the panda?.. Interview with an international stock illustration designer

Interview with Martin Fredskov. By Bjørn Smalbro - FrameMaker.dk

Anyone who has worked with graphics in one form or another knows how dependent you are on the huge amount of cheap and good stock graphics available online. There are many stock sites with Adobe Stock, Deposit Photos, Freepik and many, many more.

Graphic design for DITA

The road to graphic design for DITA

I work as a self employed industrial graphic designer. Meaning I am the one who has to figure out what skills I have to keep up-to-date and what new stuff I have to learn.

The world changes. All the time. New technologies arrive, other disappear or become redundant. 

When you are the only one to pay for your education, you learn to prioritize. I have found that it is worth it every two years to take a step backward and try to see the need for skills in a broader perspective. Doing that helps you focus on what skills are more important than others.

Is there an eco system for technical documentation designs?

I have been working with technical documentation since 1993. Thirty years. And during those years I have seen a multitude of wonderful design trends come and go in traditional marketing. Color scales going in and out of fashion. Typography changing, image styles changing, photo styles changing. But design in technical documentation has barely changed. Every text in Arial, same page design, same ugly clip art, same boring colors for everthing.

There can be a lot of reasons as to why the design of technical documentation never changes. Like "this is factual information and we should not distract the reader with fancy pancy...." or "Arial is really the only font which can be used for all languages..." "Come on! The readers don't give a hoot!..."

All - somewhat - good reasons, but speaking from personal experience, there are two dominant reasons as well:

  1. Companies don't invest in the design of their technical documentation and don't hire design expertise for the job.
  2. There is no eco system for technical documentation design.

The eco system for design

If you are a user of MS Word, InDesign or Quark, you will know there are literally many, many thousands of premade designs to choose from on a vast number of stock sites. Ranging from super big sites like Adobe Stock to individual designers making a living off handcrafted designs.

But if you are looking for designs supporting the typical demands of technical documentation with lots of structure, heading levels, numbered levels and international language support, you will soon realize that the selection of designs is very, very small.

Software for

Adobe FrameMaker 2020 Review. Adobe delivers on promises!

The long awaited FrameMaker 2020 is finally available! Adobe has just released it. Adobe FrameMaker is also a component of Adobe Technical Communication Suite which features FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate and Presenter. FrameMaker 2020 is looking good, and here at FrameMaker.dk we have spent a bit of time making a review...

Adobe Acrobat Ninja - book review

How to become an Adobe Acrobat Ninja!

Adobe Acrobat Ninja - Book review

Adobe Acrobat Ninja is a handbook for all things pdf. 13 chapters and 328 pages will take you through a systematic and well organized tour into the land of the Acrobats.

PDF has since its inception grown into a sprawling and ubiquitous file format which helps users store, print and send files to each other across platforms. Devised as a kind of closed and final file format based on postscript, pdf has also acquired a creative dimension. You can change and edit most things in pdf files! It is all of this and much more which Urszula Witherell has put into writing in her new book, Adob Acrobat Ninja.

3 reasons why Technical Writing has become the worlds most important and influential job!

1: Google is a Global User Manual for the worlds products!

So… your lawn mower makes a strange sound and won't start…

  • Do you go back to your shed and find the printed manual for the mower? No, you threw it out of course! 
  • Do you go to the manufacturers website and download the manual? No, of course not! Would take hours to find that silly stuff!!
  • Do you ask Google? Of course you do! And Google presents you with a nice little 3 point snippet User Manual in the top of the search results: 1: turn button 2: move lever 3: etc. '

Did Google write that text? No - a Technical Writer did!

Tools and inheritance

This hammer, this screwdriver, and these pliers used to belong to my father when he was still alive. I got them when he died, and they hang on the wall in my tool shed along with other tools. Some I have bought myself and some came from my fathers collection of tools. And some of the tools come from my grandfather.

I often use both the hammer and the screwdriver and everytime I do, I feel a sort of connection to my father. I look at the dents and scratches and get a sense of him working with these tools. To make a living, to fix things at home and for his many hobbies. They show the wear of that work.

How to do Content Marketing for small Webshops with Adobe FrameMaker [1/3]

Part 1 -  Part 2Part 3

When the idea first had taken root in my mind, I couldn't get it out of my head. Tequila. Tequila and Adobe FrameMaker…

Content Transformation by Scriptorium - a review

I have to admit that I don't - really - like the term "content". Content is the word for handling information in large amounts. Big amounts of technical documentation, medical/medico information, financial information etc. And handling all that information and making it accessible, readable, printable, open for analysis etc is a business in its own, the Content Management business.

The company, Scriptorium which is behind this book, has worked that business niche for many years as consultants, developers and - also - visionaries.

The book is sort of a manifesto, in the sense that it takes the reader through all the stages and shapes of "content". How it can be sorted, filtered, analyzed, transformed and published. There is a bunch of nice illustrations which work well and the text is to the point and easy to read. The book gives a fine overview of the entire transformation of content in its different phases.

From the perspective of a designer... it could be a more beautiful book had the aesthetic dimension been given a little more time! Recommended.

The book can be bought from Amazon here:

How to do Content Marketing for small Webshops with Adobe FrameMaker [2/3]

Part 1 -  Part 2 - Part 3

Welcome to the second part of three, of my business case: "Content Marketing for Webshops with Adobe FrameMaker".

As short note on the background for this project. I work professionally as a graphic designer on a daily basis with Adobe FrameMaker. And have done so since 1995. FrameMaker is a great, creative and versatile tool and an ideal choice for working with Content Marketing.

New designs on Redbubble.com

We do other types of designs than just industrial graphic design. We have an account on Redbubble.com where you can take a look at some of the designs we've done.

Check out these, and my other designs on Redbubble.com


How to do Content Marketing for small Webshops with Adobe FrameMaker [3/3]

Part 1 Part 2 - Part 3

Welcome to the third part of three, of my Business Case: "Content Marketing for Webshops with Adobe FrameMaker".

Content Marketing is mostly about using the Internet and its all dominant search engine, Google, for pushing your marketing message. We mostly use the term "search engine" about Google, but Google is also a publishing engine. Searching

Quiote FrameMaker Template outputs

Designing for multiple outputs

Use the design option of Publish to create beautiful output deisgns for Adobe FrameMaker templates

Adobe FrameMaker comes with an option to publish your documents to mulitiple outputs like pdf/html5, epub and chm. The design of these outputs can be highly customized. Here we show you how the output designs of our Quiote Template look.

HTML5 version

PDF version

Sample PDF version


"Horno" - intro to a free Adobe FrameMaker paperback template

"Horno" is the name of this small, free Adobe FrameMaker template which will help you generate an ebook in the epub file format

The "Horno" FrameMaker template is meant for quickly and elegantly creating a fiction ebook. We have based the example ebook on famous feminist novel "The Yellow Wallpaper". It will make your blood run cold!

We have even included a settings file which makes things much easier for you.

You may download the template here!

Adobe Framemaker 2022 Review

Should you upgrade to FrameMaker 2022?

Yes! Yes, you should upgrade to FrameMaker 2022, because it is reliable and you do need the latest revisions. FrameMaker relies on your operating system, other programs and other file formats and in order to make things work, you need to keep up with the times. And on a more personal level - you need to keep your resume up to date.   

... and here comes the actual Adobe FrameMaker 2022 review!   

Adobe shows great caution when it comes to updating and modernizing

Adobe FrameMaker 2017 Review. A MAJOR FrameMaker upgrade!

I have used FrameMaker since version 5 when the first Windows version became available for Win95. FrameMaker has always been a solid workhorse, and Adobe has taken a - some would say very - conservative attitude towards updating the software. But Adobe FrameMaker 2017 is certainly off to a good start with an absolutely MAJOR upgrade!

Hijuelos template

Update of Hijuelos template

The Hijuelos framemaker template is by far one our most popular templates.

It is a template meant to bring into framemaker the joy of quickly starting to write and get work done.

While FrameMaker IS a wonderful tool, creating a new blank document will not give you much inspiration for writing, as it comes with next to no formatting options.

This is where the Hijuelos template comes to the impatient writers rescue!

Adobe FrameMaker 2019 Review. Should you upgrade?

Adobe sent Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2019 to the market in September 2019. The product will probably be upgraded again in a year’s time, and is it worth upgrading to FrameMaker 2019 now?

Yes, it’s a good idea to upgrade to FrameMaker 2019, and here are the reasons:

FrameMaker is definitely the key product of Technical Communication Suite. The package’s other products, RoboHelp and Captivate do not have the same amount of users and are more specialised products. The two heavy reasons for upgrading are 64 bit and PDF.

EU law Right to Repair

EU passes Right to Repair into law

Good news for the technical writers and communicators all over the world! The EU is going ahead with "Rights to repair" with the new regulations on ecodesign that took effect on 1 March 2021.

FrameMaker Users Denmark

FrameMaker Users Denmark

FrameMaker Users Denmark er en realitet!

I 90'erne havde vi en ret stor dansk FrameMaker brugergruppe, som desværre lukkede fordi personerne og virksomhederne bag, ikke længere magtede at køre gruppen. Den 16. november stiftede vi en ny FrameMaker brugergruppe, "FrameMaker Users Denmark" i Industriparken 23, Ballerup.