I'm designing a business card which contains quite a lot of information.

Some of the type is small. Is there a preffered text anti-aliasing setting when doing something like this? Currently my type is set to crisp.

If it makes any difference the typeface is Gotham Medium at 24px (300dpi)


  • Why Photoshop and not Illustrator or InDesign? – Lauren Ipsum Dec 6 '11 at 16:04
  • Because I am designing this card in Photoshop as I excel in Photoshop and am not as proficient in Illustrator and InDesign. – Ash Dec 6 '11 at 16:41
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    Demonstrate your excellence at Photoshop by not using it where it is not appropriate! – e100 Dec 6 '11 at 18:26
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    There's nothing wrong with using Photoshop, if that's the tool you're used to. It's inefficient, but provided you're not trying to do things it can't do, there's no harm. The real point here is that the anti-aliasing settings are irrelevant. – Alan Gilbertson Dec 7 '11 at 2:28
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    @e100 - what a ridiculous comment. You can use it for whatever you want. If I can produce a much better looking product using photoshop - then why would I not use it? – Ash Dec 7 '11 at 12:24

Ignore the anti-aliasing. It's entirely irrelevant in this situation. When you're ready, save the PSD, then Save As a PDF. Uncheck the option to keep the file editable in Photoshop, or just use PDF/X-1a as your PDF type. Your text exports as vector information, not rasterized, so the various Photoshop settings don't apply.

Here are two bits of text inside Photoshop. The top is set to "Strong" and the bottom to "None."

Photoshop text in Photoshop

Now here is the same text, after saving as PDF/X-1a. I zoomed in even further, just to make the point:

Photoshop text in PDF

  • I wasn't aware that Photoshop PDFs could contain vector text... – e100 Dec 7 '11 at 14:24
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    We're grooved in to think of a Photoshop file as a raster object, so it's easy to not connect the dots and realize that a PDF is, well, a PDF. A few years ago I came across the solution to rasterized Photoshop text in InDesign -- save a PDF and place that. It was one of those "Duh..." moments. – Alan Gilbertson Dec 7 '11 at 17:58
  • interesting solution! – DA01 Dec 7 '11 at 20:33
  • Should I worry about CMYK colour? I just designed the entire document in RGB mode and conversion to CMYK is making it look funny. – vDog Feb 17 '17 at 4:12
  • It is important to note that one mustn't rasterize type, because at that point even text will be saved as raster in PDF as type information (vectors) will be lost. – Robert Koritnik Nov 7 '17 at 8:40

Antialiasing is a blurring effect, and for small type on business cards, you should avoid it at all costs. Typefaces should be output as vector, especially at small sizes. You comment that you have no proficiency with InDesign. If you have the program, use it.

Now is the ime to learn it, and a business card is the perfect small project. You can do the majority of the image work in PS, place it in InDesign, and then set the type.


Anti-aliasing is a technique to reduce the pixelisation of text on relatively low-resolution screens, and has no use in print.

If you had to use Photoshop and therefore raster text, you'd be best using no anti-aliasing and upping the resolution to a much greater value - maybe 1200ppi or 2400ppi - at which point AA wouldn't be noticeable, even if it were turned on.

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    Just wanted to add... It has no use in print unless you print artwork with rasterized type, in which case you will see the aliased edges on the printout if you didn't use anti-aliasing. But yeah, when printing non-rasterized type (which is basically just a bunch of vector shapes in any program) anti-aliasing does nothing except change how the font is displayed on your screen. – Alexei Dec 6 '11 at 21:07
  • But as I said, if you are printing raster type, it should be at a sufficient resolution to make AA redundant. – e100 Dec 7 '11 at 14:22
  • Technically, the RIP will AA the type and other vector shapes optimally for the printer. So there's no point to AA the text yourself, but AA definitely has a use in print. It's not just for low resolution screens. Any time you have non vertical/horizontal lines in a raster image, you get aliasing. AA counters this and improves image quality, even at high resolutions. – Lèse majesté Jan 5 '13 at 6:16

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