I am a very junior graphic designer / art director. I try to go through as many Lynda.com courses to equip myself with knowledge but some things I'm not sure of so please go easy on me here, I'm not a veteran.

I've not handled large artwork sizes and am most intimidated by the chance that my artwork will pixelate or discolour badly.

I've tried to avoid this by creating mostly vector-based artwork in Adobe Illustrator. I've pulled the work across to Photoshop occasionally to add Gaussian blur effects etc. I've built my layouts in Indesign. I drag the Illustrator and Photoshop files onto the Indesign layout which creates EPS files. These seem to drop the quality of the vector art way down and causes pixellation.

Any 'way of working' advice would be appreciated.

Sorry that I can't technically express myself better.

  • 1
    Is Indesign set to show high quality? View > Display Performance.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 22:09
  • Sounds like the same basic problem as Why are imported PDFs blurry in InDesign?, with eps not pdf showing the symptoms and with images that appear more pixelated than blurred. I'm pretty sure the same answers (particularly, Joonas's) apply. Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 10:21
  • Yes, you need to make it clear if it's a problem in your output or just on the display.
    – e100
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 10:26
  • The low-res problem shows on-screen. I'm quite certain I checked the quality modes but I will do so again and keep you updated. I was just particularly asking if my way of working is alright in simply dragging vector images from Illustrator and dropping them into Indesign. Initially I was under the impression that they'd remain a vector format. I thought Adobe programs communicated well in this way so I'm trying to see if this is not the case, that it will convert to a format, other than vector that is likely to pixellate. Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 15:01
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    Are you rasterizing your vector art when you bring it into PhotoShop? If so, then you're at the mercy of the resolution settings you are using in PhotoShop. (also, what is 'pole size'?)
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


Once you have all your elements composed in InDesign, export (File>Export) your file to a PDF. Steps to watch out for:

  • At the bottom of the modal dialog box where you type in the file name, you'll see a drop list to create either an Interactive or Print PDF. Be sure to check Print.
  • The next dialog box lets you set the compression, color model, bleeds and crops, etc. For a good starting point choose the "High Print Quality" setting.

Open the exported PDF in Acrobat or Preview, viewing both in full screen as well as 100% while panning around. If all your elements look sharp and as you desire, you should be ready to send the poster for printing.

Even with my own in-house equipment, I (almost) exclusively print from PDFs exported from my InDesign files. 99.9% of the time, I can spot problems in the PDF before I commit them to paper. The files print faster and I also have fewer times where my files "blow up in the printer".

  • 1
    Beautiful answer. It was so wonderful to read. You answered all of my questions and I really do appreciate you gathering what I needed to know. I can now move forward with the project with confidence and becoming a designer feels like a far more possible thing. Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 10:24
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    Thanks for letting me know it worked! As a Mac user, I'm often frustrated by the Adobe apps, but the cross-platform consistency helps. On the Mac world, the operating system builds all the visual elements with a subset of PDF, so exporting to PDF and I are best friends... A quick note of clarification: I export to/save as PDF in InDesign and Illustrator, but save to tif (for layered files), jpg (for opaque files) or png (for transparent backgrounds) in Photoshop. Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 19:12
  • I would just like to add that I just completed exporting as per all your instructions Tom and would otherwise have gotten this job wrong. Your help is sincerely appreciated. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 21:23

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