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Adobe Illustrator: Images Exporting Slightly Blurry

Every once in a while, I notice that my image proofs appear slightly blurry when exporting something for the web from Adobe Illustrator. Imagery and designs look crisp in-program, but after exporting they have the slightest bit of blur. I would notice this when placing proofs in an email client and at first I thought there must be some kind of compression happening?

But the answer was actually quite simple and something I already knew — mostly. The standard web resolution is 72 ppi. But that standard is quickly becoming a thing of the past. If you take a screenshot on your computer (mine is a 2020 iMac) you’ll notice that the screen resolution is actually much higher if you open it up in Adobe Photoshop. Something like 144 ppi in fact. This resolution is a closer, modern-standard to work from.

Another clue for high-resoltuion screen settings can be found in Adobe Indesign when using the publish online feature. There you can choose 72 ppi, 96 ppi or HiDPI 144 ppi. Publications usually look subpar if you go with 72 ppi, but drastic improvements can be seen when moving up the scale.

So, a good way to view web resolutions going forward:

  • Low Quality: 72 ppi
  • Standard Quality: 96 ppi
  • High Quality: 144 ppi

Hope that helps! If you have more info or questions on the matter, please leave a comment below:

Nick Winters

Nick performs web marketing and design for Wenatchee Valley College. In his spare time, he takes on freelance projects and fun creative opportunities via Pixel to Press.

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