I usually design in Illustrator, which appears to be vector so I don't really care about the .ai size, scaling wouldn't be a problem, but Photoshop uses Bitmap and scaling can mess up the image quality. So how would you set your file > new's Width, height, resolution, etc so that you can play it safe?

  • 1
    Linked: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/95/…
    – e100
    Nov 8 '12 at 12:04
  • Think of all the possible uses/outputs for your final artwork. Make it big enough for the largest (and hope the client doesn't have any big ideas after that!). You can't up-size raster graphics, so golden rule is to make it big and downsize if when needed.
    – John
    Nov 11 '13 at 17:32
  • Also, make it a size that is easily dividable (for example, multiples of ten are good, 100 or 1000 is better), as it will downsize more gracefully at better quality if the math is easy.
    – John
    Nov 11 '13 at 17:34

It depends on the usage the final file will be put to.

If it's for web, definite dimensions could be similar or proportionately higher (never lower) to the dimensions expected to be shown in the final webpage (it can then exported in required dimensions using "Save for Web" functionality.

If it's for print, it will again depend upon the quality of the print expected. Minimum suggested resolution for print would be 300 ppi and can definitely go much higher in accordance with the quality of the print expected. Hope it helps.

  • I wouldn't say 300 ppi is a minimum suggested all the time -- it really depends on for what you're printing. A billboard would never use 300 ppi, it would be much much lower.
    – Hanna
    Nov 8 '12 at 18:12
  • @mouse: One of the reasons 300dpi is considered "normal" is because commercial printing is measured in lines per inch and people have found that 2x the Line Screen resolution is a good way to avoid interactions with the screen frequencies. Also, wiggle room. Fancy magazines are/were often 133LPI and so 266-300dpi. Billboards typically print with a very low LPI. (see for instance: books.google.com/… )
    – horatio
    Nov 8 '12 at 22:37

It depends...

But here is a start:

  • Web/App: 72ppi, size in pixel
  • Print: 300ppi, size in inch/cm

The dimensions certainly depend on the project, so the possibilites are endless. You can always change the canvas size later, but a precise set-up is a good start. Keep in mind that there are some restrictions for brushes or certain layer effects, so anything beyond ~2600px can get problematic (unless of course you do many smaller things in a lager canvas).

So, how do you play it safe? By finding out the requirements first.


If line quality is important, even 300 dpi (at final size) can be a little lackluster. Fortunately, Pshop has been building up it's vector cred too. It's not the most pleasant tool for the job when vector is required, but it is scalable and you can send your paths over to AI if needed.

Here are a few resources to get you started with Pshop vectors.

A very basic video intro if you prefer not to read.

A detailed walkthrough of creating an illustration with vector tools.

A quick video on changes in CS6.

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