I'm a web guy trying to be a print guy. Help.

I'm pretty OK with Illustrator, but setting up a vector to get printed - they rarely ever look as crisp and clear as I expect them too.

I followed the guides listed at the particular print house I submitted my work too, but the print job was ... blurry and smudged and disappointing. The small/thin font that looked amazing digitally was not even legible in print.

Clearly I have no idea what I'm doing. Either they're messing up or I am. How do print peoples usually manage this?

How can I get the prints to be crisper, specifically fonts, and maybe linked/embedded image resources too?

  • If you submitted native vector artwork and received a "blurry" print back, the issue may be the online printer you chose to work with. Not the art.
    – Scott
    Oct 30, 2014 at 5:20
  • Add an image of your artwork to your question. There are many possible reasons, and seeing what you're submitting would let us give you a useful answer, rather than speculating. Nov 2, 2014 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


Choosing or getting the printhouse to select the right stock is important, different papers (and inks/print method) get different results, there is a minimum visible print size, but I doubt that was the issue - in all cases get a proof of the print job and make the supplier stick to it, they dont want you to be disappointed so offering you the help you require to achieve the best results should be top of their list. Up load what you have done so we can see...


I would agree that making the switch is a little daunting at first but it's a good idea to learn these ropes I suppose. From a print point of view you sound clear on what you're working with. Check your Font license to see if you are able to share and distribute the Font to the printer, worst case is Outline the Font, however please don't hold me accountable if any legal business gets in the way regarding unlicensed Font usage "Please". If the print house does not have the font you're using they might end up converting it over to a raster file, TIFF. This could be the reason why your font looks like it had artifacts. Also it depends on you font size, I don't recommend anything under 8pt. Lastly it is also the type of printer your print is going to be produced on. Flatbeds had been notorious for creating a more "speckled" or Moiré pattern. But there is lots of improvements on these printers. So just ask the printer what they are running and do a little research on that specific printer. You'll learn more about the do's and don'ts when you have the understanding of how the printer works. Software will only get you so far.

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