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(Illustrator 2015, artboard size: 960px x 887px, Units: Pixels)

Original .ai file is here:

For a few months, I was designing some logos and shapes using Illustrator. Now that I've some concepts clear, I have noticed that professional designers have designs with crisp edges. They hardly have blurred edges. I have always made designs without align to pixel grid option checked.

So to experiment with checkbox, I did following things:

In the image attached, I drew an inverted U type shape (3). And when I zoomed in, it was perfect! no blurred edges except curved part (see 1)

Then, I copied the same shape, resized it using mouse, Ctrl and Shift to maintain ratio. Then I zoomed in and to my surprise the edge got blurred :(

Same issue happened with text. I typed in Hello (3). Created outlines from it and zoomed in. Again, every letter had blurred edges (see 4)

Now, I have following queries:

  1. Do designers really use align to pixel option checked for pixel perfect designs?
  2. Why the object edges got blurred in case of resize and text outlines?
  3. To fix, I assume you have to use Direct selection tool and grab points to fit to pixels. But it doesn't seem right to it. It would distort overall designs and curved parts. So is there any way to fix this?
  4. Am I doing something wrong and missing something in designing pixel perfect objects?

enter image description here

I tried setting H and W to perfect integer whenever they were in decimals, still, things didn't work.

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The blurred edges you are seeing are a result of anti-aliasing which is used to make lines look smoother when not zoomed in. If anti-aliasing were not present then curves and diagonal lines would look jagged.

The answer is not to zoom in. Export the image at the resolution you need. If you want the graphic to be bigger, then export with higher pixel dimensions.

If you want an image that can be zoomed in or enlarged without degradation in quality, then consider exporting in a vector format from Illustrator. SVGs are vector images that can be used as graphics in web pages. Another alternative for printing, is to export as PDF from Illustrator - again, PDFs can contain vectors.

If you want pixel perfect horizontal or vertical lines, then sure, switch on align to pixels before you start your design - note however that this will have little effect on curves or diagonal lines, or text (unless you alter the outlines to conform to the pixel grid).

Illustrator CC 2017, and later, also has functionality which will allow you to make objects align to the pixel grid: more info here. This link discusses the use of Align Selected Art to Pixel Grid, and Make Pixel Perfect.

  • Sure. You said not to zoom in. Did you understand that I zoomed in only ai file in Illustrator? I'm not zooming in exported PNG / JPG file. Further, if I need solution for this horizontal and vertical blurred edges because even when you not zoom in and export the image at resolution I need, the image doesn't look crisp. I need better PNGs. Now, I see old designs on Web which were made before 2017 and still look awesome. How would they do it? What say? – Vikas Kumar Dec 9 '17 at 15:13
  • Further, is there any way to make lines align to pixel with any tool in Illustrator 2015? – Vikas Kumar Dec 9 '17 at 15:17
  • Yes, but you appear to have the pixel preview on. This is essentially the same as zooming in on the pixels. You should switch it off if you don't want to see the pixels. If you have Illustrator CC, you can upgrade to the latest version for free. I don't have access to the 2015 version any more, so can't really help you there. – Billy Kerr Dec 9 '17 at 17:37
  • Sir I think you didn't get one thing. When I saved above designs as PNG (except 1st), the images didn't look crisp but the 1st one did! Maybe because it was aligned to pixels perfectly. So I want to make sure if I should turn it on to make it crisp or is there any other way? – Vikas Kumar Dec 10 '17 at 12:35
  • Please reply @Billy Kerr – Vikas Kumar Dec 11 '17 at 16:22

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