I don't know anything about Illustrator and I need help.

If I want to design something big, may be a 24x36 inches, do I have to set the document size to that size?

Can I make the board smaller but to the same ratio (4x6 inches) and would that affect the print quality if I save it as JPEG?

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Illustrator: which size for document to be printed at different scale
    – Luciano
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 14:30
  • Do NOT save it as JPEG if you have the option of submitting it for production in native format (.AI) or vector format. "Vector" art is meant to be infinitely scalable as it is stored "as math." JPEG (aka "raster") has a fixed resolution at the time of creation. Vector's main advantage is that the artists can create something resolution and size independent. Raster requires one to know the output destination in advance of art creation. Most "rule of thumb" you hear about really comes down to how to handle the unknowns when making raster art for production.
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


I print a lot of graphics and at that size I would expect the file to be 24x36. You could create the graphic at 25% scale but there isn't really a good reason to do that. But you will start to run into problems when your artboard gets around 200 inches. If you want a 24x36 graphic, then yes, I would create the artboard at that size. I say this so your print vendor doesn't mistakenly print the graphic at the incorrect size.

I would export the graphic as a PDF unless you have a specific purpose for needing a jpg file. Illustrations in Illustrator should be saved as a PDF so you can retain vector quality, which would allow you to scale the graphic to any size. If you have a image inside your illustration and upscale the image, then you will lose quality.


If the artwork is 100% vector, then work at whatever size you are comfortable. There's nothing inherently beneficial to working oversized if everything is vector. If anything, problems more often occur due to working too small.

Since vectors scale infinitely, you can simply resize everything before output if necessary. Just be certain you "scale strokes and effects" when you scale anything.

  • How are raster effects (e.g. drop shadow) affected by scaling? I expect they are computed at the new size, but are there times where the OP may need to take steps to ensure scalability?
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 18:05
  • @Yorik They are computed at alteration or inception. Simply set the Document Raster Effects Settings correctly and any effects are recalculated any time there's scaling or alteration. If you set them to 300ppi, they'll be recalculated to 300 for any new size after scaling takes place. (This is also why you often have to wait for some things like g-blur to redraw after scaling something)
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 18:25

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