Hi, i'm trying to print out some custom mailing labels that i've designed in illustrator for my small business, however when i export it as a JPEG to send to my printer my printed results are grainy illegible words. This is my first time attemping this sort of thing so i apologize if anything i've done so far seems insanely rooky. My canvas is A4 main colors are pink and blue. I cant help but feel like that theres something i'm doing.. incorrectly or not at all. So here i am seeking help from more insighted (aka cool people who know how stuff like this work) Please help me. Thank you.
Can you print from Ilustrator instead of first exportingto jpeg?
What are your jpeg export settings?
What kind of printer is this?
Can you show photos of the result?
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You should save your file as a PDF then print from Acrobat instead. This keeps your file vector objects (especially type) which Acrobat will convert to your printer's final resolution.
When you export a JPEG, your file is ratserized into pixels at the resolution you exported, and your printer can't do any better than that. The conventional wisdom is to export at 300ppi, which IS more than fine for photograph images, but is too low for crisp rendering of smaller type, especially if anti-aliasing is turned on.
If you insist on doing the export JPEG route, set 600ppi for your export resolution and turn anti-aliasing off.
When dealing with a raster image such as a JPEG it is important to make sure that even if you have a file that is high resolution at 100% size that you do not enlarge it for its final use. The more you enlarge the image from its original size the more pixelization you can expect to see.
More specifically about the option of printing the vector artwork directly: this requires a printer with a Postscript (emulating) driver, ruling out most small office printers and printers for photo work.
Otherwise, the PDF way suggested by Brad is the way to peint as good as it gets with the printer.
Apart from everything else, if you need a raster version, PNG would seem a more obvious format choice, and there are ways to ensure the best possible outcome.