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I had to create an 800mm x 2000mm print and so I started by actually creating a 800mm x 2000mm file in Illustrator.

The file contained only vectors so my question is:

Can I create my file size dimensions to be smaller as long as it keeps the correct ratio for the final print?

Like I said, vector ONLY, no photos or raster images.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I usually try to work in 1:1 scale, but rarely do I work with formats that large. It's not uncommon for artwork to be set at a smaller scale, though. Here's a question that touches on that: In Illustrator, how do I set my file at 10% scale?

When going back and forth with a customer, I find it easier to communicate with exact sizes. I try and avoid language like "I'd like it 50% bigger" (which is very ambiguous) and rather go for "I set the graphic to be 5 inches wide".

Working in a 1:1 scale saves me the trouble of having to remember to convert the measurements. Illustrator does have size limits, but the dimensions you specified are within the working limits. If you do scale down your artwork, just remember to add a notation somewhere in the file so that it's clear!

If you're concerned about file size, it should not make a significant difference if your artwork is 100% vector.

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I don't see why not. Just be careful that the sizes are proper when you export the file for print (something I'd use InDesign for, anyway). If all else fails, you could always just scale the finished work to the desired size.

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well I was just thinking about file size. my file only had a handful of elements so it's just over 1mb but I'd imagine a huge amount of elements could make it a lot bigger so I thought keeping the size down (dimensions) it could help with file size –  SaturnsEye Jul 30 at 16:04
    
@SaturnsEye What will it be used for? 1MB seems too small for me to even think about shrinking file size in most situations. –  Joonas Jul 30 at 16:08
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scratches back of head How do you think that keeping a smaller size will make your vector file smaller? It's the same anchors and béziers. And I'd like to second @Joonas: any Ai file is usually at least a meg in size, so why shrink it further? –  Vincent Jul 30 at 16:12
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@SaturnsEye I just tested it with some mildly intricate vector art, a 485mm x 305mm file went from 2.49 MB to 2.64 MB when I enlarged it to 4850mm x 3050mm. As Baka said, it shouldn't matter if it's all vector –  JohnB Jul 30 at 16:13

The short answer is yes you can. As long as the aspect ratio is the same. It would be best also if you converted your strokes to paths, just to make sure they scale proportionately as well.

The same does apply to raster-based stuff. Lots of tradeshow art gets scaled down to send over to printers.

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