Vector Graphics

I’m working with a Pakistani designer and we’re sending files to a Chinese color printing company. The designer keeps sending me files with ai extensions and the printer keeps rejecting them, saying the fonts aren’t coming out properly because the files are not in outline or vector format. Does anyone know the solution(s) to this? Thanks for any info.

Yes you can outline all of the fonts. You can select all text objects and convert to outlines. They are probably kicking them back because they don’t have those fonts. That’s why the common practice is to provide a print ready PDF with a subset of the font embedded. That being said our printers always wanted illustrator files for their prepress guys.

Whoa, depends on what you’re printing. If this is a single page design, then outlining fonts can be fine. But if it is a multipage thing with lots of text, that may not be a good option. Outlining removes any font hinting etc that would be available in a live font.

And, yes, I know that .ai is not a proper multipage layout tool, but these days, anything can happen, and a lot of things do that shouldn’t.

Your printer should have PDF job options that your designer can load and create proper printable PDF files.

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Yeh it’s fine.

Don’t do it from the application that created it though, do it from Acrobat.

There’s a create outlines in the Preflight area of Acrobat Pro.

I work with Chinese, Arabic, Pakistani, Iran, Kazakstan leaflets all the time - we receive outlined text all the time - it’s not a big deal.

I did not know that. This will be super helpful.

Just ask your designer to send PDFs.


You set the stage for problems with both of those choices.

The .ai extension indicates they’re Adobe Illustrator files. Everyone else here is assuming the designer failed to include the font files along with the Illustrator file and that the printing company is requesting that all the type be converted to vector outlines by the designer. Doing this essentially moves the type directly into Illustrator by making the type into uneditable vector outlines that can be printed.

I’m assuming this is what’s happening too. However, from what you wrote and considering the many problems of working with an unknown “designer” from a country that’s become synonymous with untrained, amateurs passing themselves off over the internet as graphic designers, there’s no way of telling for sure how this so-called designer messed up the file.

There are many good printers in China, but communication problems are the norm with almost any Chinese company. What you wrote of what they wrote to you could be interpreted in different ways. I’m assuming they’re requesting that the type be outlined, but it’s also possible that the supposed designer imported a raster file (Photoshop, for example) containing rasterized type into the document. Doing something like that would reek of incompetence, but it’s not all that more implausible than an amateur not bothering to include the fonts, outline the fonts, or send you a PDF file with the fonts embedded into the PDF.

If the problem is just that the “designer” sent you an Illustrator file with no font files, you’ve already received good advice from others on what to tell this person. If it’s something else, well, you have bigger problems.

Yes - because outlining in InDesign or other apps can cause other text items like underline to completely disappear. This won’t happen doing in the PDF itself.

Yes. The hinting in fonts corrects for outline rounding errors that become noticeable at lower resolutions. However, even with high-resolution printing, small type that’s outlined can end up with those rounding errors being noticeable. Discussing instances where font hinting is important gets a bit technical and on many jobs isn’t important. However, it’s enough of a problem that I generally avoid outlining text sizes — especially on multi-page documents or with files that might be printed on desktop printers or viewed electronically.