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I'm really more of a Photoshop person, so I have gaps in my self-taught Illustrator knowledge, so thanks for the patience.

When I do logos for clients, I use Export for Screens as recommended by most YouTube videos I've seen on best practices for sending clients' final files. I export PNGs at a width of 1500 px, and then a large PNG at ×3. I also do a PDF and SVG.

I've never really had any trouble with this, but recently a client was complaining of pixelated graphics when they printed the logo at different sizes. I suspected they were using PNGs for sizes they shouldn't be, so I was going to recommend sticking to PDFs when printing, but I want to make sure that's correct. After all, it is called Export for Screens.

I know PDFs are considered vectors in Illustrator, but are there any dialogue-box settings elsewhere in Illustrator that I should know about that would give the client a good PDF? I use Export for Screens because of how fast it can export multiple file types and artboards all at once, but I want to make sure I'm giving clients good files they can use for anything they could want.

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  • Your actual problem is most likely that your client is using Word. Now there is no good solution for your average Word user, if they were competent enough they would not be using Word.
    – joojaa
    Feb 28, 2023 at 16:04

4 Answers 4

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Clients should really never be "printing" PNG images of logos... ever.
(I do realize clients will do this though. They'll do all sorts of "wonky" stuff.)

If Illustrator is being used for logo creation, provide the client with a vector PDF, as well as possibly an EPS, and native AI file. Good, solid, logo should be delivered to the client in vector form. "Export as" only exports raster images.

Vector files are resolution independent and have no PPI setting*. They adapt to whatever the output device requires.

*The caveat here is if one were to "place" a linked or embedded raster image within Illustrator.
I, personally, avoid all raster graphics for logos.


With the above in mind, if I have a client complaining about "pixelization when we print". I merely tell the client that, for print, the EPS or PDF should be used and never any PNG.


Related:

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as recommended by most YouTube videos I've seen

Ouch. It would be best if you found better Youtube channels. :)

You need to differentiate 4 types of files.

I. Source files.

The native file format where you are producing the files. And here we need also to differentiate the correct application for the work. In this case vector format; Illustrator, Corel Draw, Affinity Design, or even Inkscape.

I make different versions of the source logo files, for example with the original fonts, with strokes of different widths or objects intersecting the logo. You do not deliver those to the client.

II. Delivery files

In the case of a logo, the files should remain as vectors. If the main goal is going to be printed in a commercial printer, or let's say the file is part of identity guidelines, the colors should be defined for example in Pantone, and the file format should support it. This reduces the options to PDF, and could exclude using SVG as it uses RGB.

Keep in mind that there are many flavors of PDF. PDF is not a "Save it format", it is an "Export it format". So you need to export it correctly.

You can also provide a native file format, but without any effects, overlays, layers, etc. Avoid even strokes with width. A simple plain, clean Logo on curves. No intersections, embedded fonts, or anything like that.

More could be said about the "original logo". You normally deliver it in the document with some context, a basic identity manual with annotations like the different colors allowed.

III. Supporting or complementary files

Not every client knows how to extract the vectors of a PDF file (but the design department should). So, in this case, you can provide additional files like a transparent PNG, but only as a "courtesy" to simplify the usage on Office software, or social network apps like Canva.

SVG file format is something in between. It is a vector file, that could be used as an original, but as is the logo naked and in RGB only it is not ideal for "the original" for branding. If the branding is electronic usage only, it could be one of the delivery formats.

IV. Applied files

You can provide the logo implemented in such applications, for example, a Word or PowerPoint template, with a well-defined resolution in case you need to implement it as a raster image.


The problem is that you provided a file type III, which is not ideal as the main source, and the client probably made additional strawberry jam or mashed potatoes with it.

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When you save to .pdf in Illustrator, near the top of the dialog box there's a dropdown option that says "Adobe PDF Preset", and selecting [High Quality Print] will provide you with a better quality file, but much larger in file size.

Adobe Illustrator Save Dialog Box

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You should ask the client to show you the file and what size they were enlarging it to. If they were using a file at 1500px for a 10" wide space, then it was too small. Asking a client for the final size usage would be smart from here on out.

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  • Yes, for PNGs I agree, but I'm asking about the PDFs that are exported along with them under the "export for screens" option. The dialogue box doesn't have a set pixel size for PDFs (because they're vector, I'm assuming) so I want to make sure PDFs exported that way could still be printed at any size, or if there's a setting I'm forgetting about in another dialogue box.
    – Jay Dee
    Feb 27, 2023 at 23:19
  • Yes, using scalable PDFs are good, unless you are using a JPG or something in the otherwise vector drawing.
    – Steve
    Feb 27, 2023 at 23:33

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