I design invitations primarily in Photoshop. I use layers with fonts/.png graphics throughout the design. I save it as a JPEG file and will upload my design to Vistaprint for printing.

A customer asked me if I could save my file as a vector. She said the quality is much better when she receives her product.

In my PSD file, how do I save it in order to achieve this level of quality? As an .eps or as a .tif? I saved my file as both to test it out and uploaded it without a problem to Vistaprint. I'm just unsure if the quality will be any different being that the core of the design was created in Photoshop.


3 Answers 3


I have been in the printing industry and designing graphics, for all sorts of printing, for pretty much my entire adult life. Here's the best advice I can give you...

Creating any new Photoshop file for the purpose of printing, it is best practice to always create the file with the canvas size at the actual size it will be printed for the job it is created. Actually, I usually make my canvas size about a half an inch larger (on all sides) than the artwork itself.

To be able to achieve nice crisp sharp edges for any fonts and typing and any other elements that will be created directly in Photoshop, starting right from beginning at the new document set up, the document resolution is perhaps the most important. 300 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) will give you nice crisp un-pixelated artwork for the final output. I always create my documents at 400 PPI just in case I need to do some minor enlarging and scaling in the future. The downside of that is the higher the resolution of the document, the larger the file size.

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Knowing the printing method which will be used at the final output is also very important. Knowing this information is also crucial for setting up your initial document. For example, if your design is ultimately going to be printed at the facility of an offset printer, cmyk a.k.a four color process, will generally be the printing method used. In this case you would create your new Photoshop document in CMYK color mode. If you were to create this document originally in RGB color mode, it would ultimately have to be converted to CMYK for the output separations for the printer. Any colors in your document that were created in RGB color mode at first, which fall outside the gamut of what CMYK could produce, would be color shifted when converting from RGB to CMYK. However, if your design will be printed using a method such as screenprinting for T-shirts or some other process which will use spot colors only (not combined with CMYK printing), you can create your document in RGB color mode and assign any of your spot color channels using any of the given color books such as Pantone matching system.

Generally, most of my designs use both Photoshop and Illustrator. For example, if I cannot create the entire design using only vector artwork in Illustrator, I will manipulate all the elements of the design in Photoshop that are raster based.. such as photographs and other flattened or rasterized elements and then save that document created in Photoshop as a .tiff file format (which enables saving the file with any transparent elements or layers). Then I will create a new Illustrator document with the same art board dimensions and color mode that are used in that saved Photoshop .tiff file. Next, once that new illustrator document has been created and is open, go to menu item File/Place and locate that .tiff file (making sure you select the "link" option) and place it into your Illustrator document. The awesome aspect of using the "link" option is if you need to go back to Photoshop and make any edits or color changes or whatever to that .tiff file and save those edits, those new updated changes from Photoshop Will be reflected in Illustrator as well. At this point, now you have all of your raster elements visible in your illustrator file and now you can add any vector items or typing words or what ever else to the document. This will absolutely ensure the cleanest, sharpest, crispy edges to the artwork.

The only time I do not follow this is exact step-by-step procedure I have outlined is when I produce the printing separations for the printer to use rather than allowing the printer to do the separations themselves. What I mean by that is, if I create any new spot channels in Photoshop that will be printed as separate colors, I will save the Photoshop document as a DCS 2.0 file format. Then I would follow the rest of the outlined procedure I previously described. Placing this DCS 2.0 (which is actually an .EPS file) into illustrator, will automatically load any spot channels I have created, directly into the illustrator swatches panel

Summing it all up, if you are hellbent on using only Photoshop, create the document starting out using the exact dimensions you will need for output, choose your color mode appropriately, 300 PPI image resolution, avoid adding any vector elements which could be added after-the-fact using illustrator.

  • It is also important to note.. If you will be "placing" files into your Illustrator document, be sure to include both the .ai and .tiff files when you send your artwork out for production. If you do not include both files, when the printer opens that illustrator file, a dialogue message will appear stating it can't find the linked file etc.. Also noteworthy is for the purposes of sending your artwork out for others to print, any time during the creation and file saving process you have an option to embed the document color profile... Always choose to embed the profile.
    – wch1zpink
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 3:26

Ideally you use to send an EPS (or PDF) format file with JPEG encoding. That is when the final image does not need to be edited or compressed anymore, otherwise you send native PSD format in order to not lose quality. You will use TIFF if you need a bitmapped image suitable for a lot of different programs. Regarding your question, just a end it over in EPS format (or PDF) as mentioned before. However I highly recommend you to start working on illustrator or inDesign for printing purposes. They both work much better with vectors (is the best way to work for printing), fonts and color schemes (RGB, CMYK and Pantone). If you need to include any edited image on your work, do it in Photoshop and then import it to Illustrator or inDesign.


"A customer asked me if I could save my file as a vector. She said the quality is much better when she receives her product. In my PSD file, how do I save it in order to achieve this level of quality?"

The short answer...you cannot.

here's the reality... Photoshop is a Raster-based program. Everything you create in it is made up of hundreds/thousands of tiny dots (pixels). It is finite in terms of how much information is in each of those dots, and when you enlarge it - you will loose quality, have halos around the pixels, and it will get fuzzy, pixellated, and lose sharpness. It is useful for complex color, photographs, and other continuous tone images.

If you want a Vector-graphic, then you must create/draw the image in a Vector-based program like Illustrator. Unlike Photoshop. Illustrator is based on math and algorithms. So when you enlarge a drawing built in Illustrator, it will resize infinitely, the lines remain crisp and smooth, and there is no loss of quality or resolution... no matter how big it gets. Best for logos and other graphic/shape-based drawings.

Pasting an image from Photoshop into Illustrator does not change it to a vector. Saving an image from Photoshop to EPS does not change it to a vector. The only way you can do that is to create it as a vector to begin with. You can export a vector to a raster, but not the other way around.

I remember this as one of the first things I learned in design school (25 years ago - wow! has it been that long?). And it is still true today. This article does a great job explaining it.


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