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Adobe Illustrator/Distortion in a Downsized Vector


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Before the Downsize  
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After the Downsize  
QUESTION: I'm attempting to make a vector, created by another artist, smaller to reduce file size. I've wasted hours researching potential solutions to the problem, but I still don't know what's wrong because I didn't create the file and can't tell what was done to make it not size down correctly. I've checked the "Scale Strokes and Effects" box (and unchecked and rechecked it numerous times). It's not solving my particular problem. I've attached images to illustrate the issue. Notice the "1" and the gray outline around the red circle. They both change in the scaled down version. How do I stop them from doing that? Or is there not a way (meaning it's an Illustrator bug)? Thank you so much for any help!! I'm on a Dell desktop/32 bit op system/Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E7500 @ 2.39 GHz/4 GB (2.96 GB usable)/Illustrator CS6 ~ Let me know if I need to provide anymore information. Sorry if this question has been asked before, but I've spent hours trying to figure out the problem and never came across a sufficient answer.

ANSWER: Hi Rachel,

In viewing your examples, the "1" appears to not be vector, or it has a raster effect applied to it. Try this go to view> outline and see if there are vector paths for the image. If there are, that's a good start. Go back to view and change it back to Preview mode. If not, there is your answer.

If it is, then select the 1 and go to the appearances panel and see what effects are applied to the object, stroke and fill. These could be causing he issue as well. At first glance it looks like a bevel and emboss are applied. Try Turing these off and resizing to see what happens.



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Thanks so much for your time and effort in that answer! Though it didn't end up solving the problem, unfortunately. The "1" didn't have any mesh lines, but neither did the "7" (which sizes down without distortion). As far as the bevel and emboss, both numbers also have that applied. But if I remove it, it will change the appearance of the image and therefore defeat the purpose. I wish I could send you the Illustrator files and see if you could figure out something I can't. Perhaps a better question would be: How can I make the vector file smaller? It's currently 3.43MB. Is it possible to have a vector file be smaller than 1MB? I was attempting to size the vector down thinking that it would result in a smaller file size, but since I can't seem to size it down, perhaps I can tackle the issue of file size with some success. :/ Any help/effort whatsoever is greatly appreciated!! Thanks so much, Kevin! You're wonderful!

Hi Rachel,

Be sure to turn on "Scale Strokes and Effects" before you resize and that will help with the Bevel and Emboss. As for there not being paths, that also tells me that these numbers are NOT vector items and are graphics placed in Illustrator, meaning resizing them will make them look worse no matter what you do. You should recreate the numbers using Illustrator and then apply the effects (Bevel and Emboss, etc.) to match.

It is possible to have a vector file smaller than 1 mb BUT the fact that you have placed graphics and effects in this logo 3.43 is not that big of a file.

Why would you want this lower than 1 mb? Are you trying to use this on a site with image restrictions?


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Kevin Stohlmeyer


I am an Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional and Adobe Freelance Professional. I travel nationally speaking on Adobe Creative Suite applications, including Illustrator and design. I can answer questions about Adobe Illustrator version CS1 through the all-new Creative Cloud.


I am an Adobe Certified Instructor for Adobe Illustrator and have been teaching this software in college/higher education and for an Adobe Authorized Training Center since 2000. I have been an active user of Adobe Illustrator as a professional graphic designer since 1994. I am also the author of the Adobe Illustrator Certified Expert Exam. I am a published author for Adobe Inspire Magazine, writing articles on Creative Suite applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and the Adobe Touch apps.

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