Illustrator's Purpose

Illustrator is a program designed to create vector art. Certain effects and filters are available in Illustrator that are not available in other programs. However, Illustrator is not a layout program. If you use Illustrator as your layout program your job WILL incur additional charges.

Freehand's Purpose

Freehand is a program designed to create vector art too. It is very similar to Illustrator. While Freehand can technically be used as a layout program we do not recommend it. If you use Freehand as your layout program your job WILL incur additional charges. Note: It is unclear if Adobe intends to discontinue Freehand, but the newest version of Illustrator makes it possible to upgrade from Freehand MX to Illustrator CS3. Draw your own conclusions.

Whether using Illustrator or FreeHand to create vector art files, the specs are basically the same. One exception is the number of pages. When using FreeHand, limit files to one page (Illustrator can only make single page files). If you have an existing multi-page document please create a separate document for each page. This will keep file sizes to a minimum.

Raster Images

DO NOT place, embed, link or copy-and-paste raster images into any Illustrator or Freehand file. These should be placed in the layout program.

Adobe Illustrator Document Raster Effects Settings

Although we do not recommend placing raster images in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Illustrator will sometimes convert certain types of art created within an Adobe Illustrator document into raster art. Therefore it is important to make sure your documents raster effects settings are correct. On the menu bar click Effect, then Document Raster Effect Settings. For the Resolution setting, click Other: and type 350. Make sure the radio button for Transparent is selected.

Color Space

Make sure you are working in the CMYK color space. In either program, be sure all the colors in your color palette are set to process or cmyk colors unless you are working with spot or PMS (Pantone® Matching System) colors.

To check this in Illustrator, double click on a color in the colors palette. The pop up window will tell you if the color is process. You also need to go to file, document color mode, and make sure CMYK is checked.

To check this in FreeHand, look for italicized color names in your color palette. If they are not italicized, select the color/colors and then make process or cmyk from the options button in the colors palette.

Spot Colors

When working with spot or PMS colors, make sure you select only PANTONE® Solid Coated (for coated papers) or PANTONE® Solid Uncoated (for uncoated papers) colors. Do not choose Matte, Solid-to-Process, Hexachrome, EURO or any other type of PANTONE® color. Do not choose HSB, LAB, RGB, TOYO, TRUMATCH or web-safe colors. Do not mix different types of color within a document. For instance, do not set artwork as PMS 185 C in one piece of art, PMS 185 U, in another and PMS 185 CVC in yet another. When the document goes to press they will show up as three different color seperations instead of one.

Saving Files & File Formats

When you are done creating your document, save it in the native file format (.ai or .fh) with all type still in text format. At this point you have a choice to make: should you convert all your fonts to outlines (or paths) or not? If you are confident that there will be no further text changes, convert all your fonts to paths. This will eliminate the need for you to send us the fonts used in the document. However, if you convert the fonts to outlines or paths we will not be able to make any simple text changes. If you need to make text changes you will have to submit new files, and you will incur additional charges. Please note: it is best to set as much of the type as possible in the layout program. This eliminates the possibility of missing fonts in placed or linked files.

To convert fonts to outlines in Ilustrator, make sure all layers and objects are unlocked. Do a Select All, click on Type on the menu bar, and select Create Outlines.

To convert fonts to paths in FreeHand, select your text and go to Text on the menu bar, select Convert to Paths. You must do this with each separate group of text in your file.

Saving Illustrator files in EPS format, choose File on the menu bar, Save as, Eps format. In the options window, choose Compatibility of version CS or higher; preview as a Tiff (8-bit color), transparent; Options check cmyk postscript level 3. Check Include document fonts just in case you missed converting a font to outlines.

Saving FreeHand files in EPS format, choose File, Export. Format Macintosh EPS (Mac) or EPS w/Tiff Preview (Win). Export each page by itself, one at a time. In Setup, Include FreeHand document, Include Fonts in eps, and convert colors to CMYK.


Note: These instructions were created using FreeHand MX and Illustrator CS on a Macintosh. You may need to adjust slightly for different versions or platforms.