I'm designing a directory sign that will be shown on a digital screen with a resolution of 480 × 1015. I don't know very much about designing for a digital format and need help figuring out how to set up the file in illustrator.

I'm assuming that I would need to make an artboard that is 480x1015 first. Is that correct? I'm not sure what to set the raster effects to. Could someone help me with that part?

Lastly, I'm not totally sure how I should be exporting the file. Which image resolution would make sense for this scenario? Also, what should I be setting the quality slider to? Does it matter which compression mode I select?

This is the window I'm referring to: enter image description here

  • 1
    If you dont export at 72 ppi it wont match your pixel size.
    – joojaa
    Feb 28, 2022 at 19:54
  • Why do you say that? Feb 28, 2022 at 20:49
  • Because thats the way illustrator is configured. Having a fixed size for a pixel makes it possible for pixels to be physical units.
    – joojaa
    Mar 1, 2022 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


Being a vector-based application, Illustrator assumes the default pixel density of documents is 72ppi.

If you export at 150ppi, then you ask illustrator to effectively double the pixel density, but it won't. Illustrator always exports assuming 72ppi.

So, what you get when you export at 150ppi, is a document about twice the dimensions of the original - i.e. 960x2030px - and not an increase in pixel density (PPI).

Export at 300ppi and you get a document roughly 4x the original pixel dimensions.

If you need the document to remain at 480x1015px, you must export at 72ppi. Illustrator will not increase the pixel density of exports. The pixel dimensions will be increased as opposed to pixel density being increased.

You can test this yourself. Export at the various resolutions, then examine the exports. You'll find they are different dimensions not different densities (PPI).

Why can't Illustrator calculate pixel density upon export?
Well, you'd have to ask Adobe about that.

You can use a separate tool, such as Photoshop, to reduce the export file dimensions back to where you need them while increasing the pixel density (PPI). But Illustrator can't do this. - or simply place the Illustrator file as a smart object into a Photoshop document with the correct dimensions and resolution for your needs.

As for the quality, that's your call - it's a balance between the quality setting, the quality of the exported image, and the resulting file size (kb). Each image can be different and there's no universal setting, other than maximum, which works for every image.

Compression Method is best left on the default (standard) unless you know why you need to change it.

Anti-aliasing depends upon the nature of the artwork. If there's no, or minimal, type in the artwork using the Art Optimized (supersampling) setting is generally better.

  • Illustrator can either have a pixel unit and have other physical units, not have pixel as a unit and have physical units or not have physical units. Those are the options. Illustrator chooses the first, this has a consequence of fixing pixel size. While you could allow changing that size it wouldnt affect the export and then you would need to know the fixed size for each document separately.
    – joojaa
    Mar 1, 2022 at 6:53

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