Online Photo Printing: Prepare Digital Artwork For Printing

At one point, you’ve probably found yourself in exactly this position. How do I prepare my digital artwork for print? Well not to worry! We’ve assembled this quick guide to help you get that print piece out the door perfectly. In today’s PFF guide we’ll be focusing on 2 popular design software that will help you understand what the printer is asking for when it come to online photo printing; Adobe Illustrator and Procreate

Creating your digital artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Creating a new document in Adobe Illustrator is very simple.

Step 1: Define Your Canvas Size

To get started, please open Adobe Illustrator and choose File → New…

Create a new file in Illustrator

Canvas dimensions

In the dropdown field “Units”, you can select the unit of measurement you would like to use. Normally, either mm or cm will be used. In the fields “Width” and “Height”, please set up the width and height with which you would like to print the document.

As an example, we will use cards with a format of 90 mm x 54 mm. You must also set the bleed to 3 mm. This ensures that there will be a safety margin during the cutting process.

Set format and bleed for your artwork

Step 2: Adjust Colour Mode & DPI/PPI

Please check in the “Advanced” tab, that the Colour Mode is set to CMYK, and that Raster Effects are set to High (300 ppi). These settings help to maximise the quality of the printed product.

Select CMYK color mode

After pressing ok, your document is now properly set-up, and you can start working!

Step 3: Export Your Project

For an illustration and digital artworks, the best option is to save it as a high-resolution JPEG, PNG or PDF file.

Go to File > Export > Export As. Type in a filename and set Format to JPEG. Set how you want to save your artboards, then hit Export to continue.

On the JPEG Options screen change the Color Model if you need to, and choose a quality.

Under Options, set the output resolution. Choose High (300dpi) for a high-resolution image. This will be good enough for printing. Click OK to save the file and you are ready to send it to us at Print For Fun for printing!

Creating Your Digital Artwork with Procreate

Whether it’s for your portfolio or to give as a gift, it is possible to transfer your on-screen artwork into a physical piece with Procreate.

Step 1: Set Up Your Canvas

Setting your canvas dimensions at the start will help you avoid any issues such as creating a file that’s too small.

Canvas Dimensions

Create a new canvas and set it to the physical dimensions of what you want to print. For example, if you’d like to print a Letter-sized design, set the dimensions to 8.5×11 inches.

Set DPI to 300. DPI stands for “dots per inch” and is the number of ink dots the printer can squeeze into an inch of the paper. A higher DPI gives you a better quality image. Here’s how: In the Gallery view, create a new canvas (top right corner) and choose Custom Dimensions (top right icon).


Adjust the dimensions and DPI settings. Note: You can set your dimensions to inches instead of pixels at the bottom next to the number keypad.


Remember that it’s always better to make your canvas too big than too small. If you start with a small canvas, printing it at a larger size will result in a blurry image. Starting too big and scaling down will still give you a clear result. 

Color Profile

There’s lots of confusion around Color Profile with some people saying that you have to use CMYK in order to print. However, there’s nothing stopping you from printing an RGB image. You don’t have to convert it to CMYK in order to print. But, the colors may show up differently when the design is on paper because the color is created with dots of ink instead of pixels of light. Here’s an example of the difference:


If your main goal is to print your work, and you want your artwork to look like the end result while you’re working on screen, set your Color Profile to CMYK. This will dull your color palette but it will make the colors match better with your final physical piece.

But if you intend to display your work on a screen and print a copy of your work as a backup, use the default RGB Color Profile. Our online photo services can closely match the look of RGB, so you can probably get away with using RGB. (Also, if you’re using black and white or a very muted color palette, then there won’t be much difference anyway.)


Learn more about RGB vs CMYK here!

Step 2: Create Project

Your turn! Create your piece in Procreate. Remember, if you set your canvas size to the size of a piece of paper, filling your entire canvas will fill the whole page once you print it.

Step 3: Export Your Project

When you’re ready to print, you’ll need to get your design from Procreate onto your computer in order to print it. Export the project as a PNG (Actions > Share > PNG). Send it to your computer via email, AirDrop, DropBox, or your preferred transfer method.


Once the image file is on your computer, open the PNG file and choose File > Print. View the Print Preview and make sure it looks correct; you may need to choose “Print Entire Image”. Once you are done, you can proceed to send it to us for printing!

Final Thoughts

Now that you have an idea of how to prepare your digital artwork, you can process it for printing with our online photo printing service. If you have any questions or if you need help, get in touch with us!

‘Till next time, cheers!