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Why Not To Use Photoshop For Typesetting

Adobe Photoshop is world class graphic design software for photo/image processing, but it's not the best design tool for typesetting and line-art graphics that are destined for commercial printing... especially silkscreen printing spot-colours.

We always recommend that clients process their photos/images in Photoshop and then place them into Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign for assembly with design templates, line art graphics and text. Why is that? The image shown below displays the problem:

The letter "A" on the left is line-art text from Illustrator... and the letter "A" on the right is from Photoshop. They were both created using the same font and point size, and the image was saved at 300dpi which is the most common resolution for commercial print in the CD manufacturing and DVD manufacturing world.

As you can see, the Photoshop generated letter is noticeably fuzzy... and this is because it is a bitmap image as opposed to line-art. Such fuzziness isn't as big a problem for the large bold text in your design, but it can become problematic in smaller text and finer styles of fonts.

The fuzziness of text and graphics created in Photoshop can play havoc with the visual quality of silkscreen printed designs. What appears to be sharp and smooth on your computer screen turns into jagged and rough edges in the final print. On the other hand, line-art does provide sharp edges and smooth curves or silkscreen printing spot colours as well as all types of CMYK print.

Due to this (as noted above) we always recommend that you perfect your photos in Photoshop, save them in high-resolution form (such as a 300dpi .TIF) and then place them into your Illustrator or Indesign design page where you can add your line art graphics and do your typesetting.

The result will be sharper and cleaner text and graphics, which equates to higher overall visual quality and legibility.

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