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I have an Illustrator file that is pretty big 2.5gb to be exact. There are a lot of complex bristle brushes to make a chalkboard effect for the background and there are also text and illustrations using the brush as the strokes.

It's for a big print file that will be 7' wide by 5' tall. Illustrator is advising me to rasterize the bristle brushes before saving, but I'm worried if I do the final outcome will look pixelated when printing. My artboard is the exact dimensions as what the final print size will be. My client told me they were thinking of printing on a foam board through FedEx.

So my questions are:

Should I rasterize the brush paths before printing?

Can I make the artwork smaller to decrease the file size and the print company can blow it up to the right dimensions before printing?

What should I export the artwork as (pdf, tiff, ai, etc)

This is my first big print project through Illustrator so any information and help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Not a full answer, but you asked for geeneral help and there are too many points for a comment.


Can I make the artwork smaller to decrease the file size and the print company can blow it up to the right dimensions before printing?

If all your artwork is vectors, you can always scale it however you'd like. Create the artwork at a much smaller scale and you can scale it all at the end.

If you do have raster objects within your artwork, don't embed them, link them instead. (If you are sending the printing company the .ai file, you will want to embed it - do it at the end though.)

What should I export the artwork as (pdf, tiff, ai, etc)

You have to ask the printing company what format they want, generally they would want a pdf. (Though, not always - ask them.)


There are a lot of complex bristle brushes to make a chalkboard effect for the background and there are also text and illustrations using the brush as the strokes.

You can consider creating and exporting just the "chalkboard" and then creating that as your background layer - you would need to design at scale though (which you are doing anyhow).

Depending on how your brushes are (actual brushes, or just paths) you can create one as a symbol and then repeat the symbol as many times as you'd like.

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    If I could upvote this ten times, I would. Having been burned by huge file sizes in Illustrator, the answer for raster images in Illustrator is almost certainly "don't embed them, link them instead". Another issue I've encountered is saving such AI files with the "Create PDF compatible file" option checked. It can easily make the file size balloon, especially if there are large raster images. – Billy Kerr Jan 30 at 1:18

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