Exporting Adobe Illustrator Pattern Tiles

If you make repeat patterns in Adobe Illustrator there will be times when you need to export them to a different file type, for example when uploading to Print-on-Demand sites like Spoonflower.com. 

The two most common file types are JPEG (JPG) and PNG and it’s important to do the exporting correctly or you could end up with hairlines — little breaks in your patterns that may show up in your finished product. And that’s no fun.

Below are the exact steps I use to export pattern tiles. Follow them carefully and you can be confident there won’t be any unhappy surprises.  

Would you prefer to see a video showing the steps? It’s part of my Skillshare class, Repeat Patterns in Adobe Illustrator. Not a Skillshare member? The class is also available here. 

Exporting Illustrator Pattern Tiles

1. Drag your pattern swatch out of the Swatches Panel onto your Artboard. 

2. Use COMMAND — Y to go into Outline Mode and select your Bounding Box. (Make sure you select ONLY the Bounding Box.)

3. Go to OBJECT — ARTBOARDS — FIT TO SELECTED ARTNow your Artboard should be the exact size of your pattern tile. If your pattern has a background color, make sure the color extends beyond the Artboard edges.


5. Choose the format (JPG or PNG) and be sure to click USE ARTBOARDS.

6. Click EXPORT and then fill in the rest of the details according to your needs. (For Spoonflower, set Color Model to RGB, Resolution to 150ppi, and Anti-aliasing to Art Optimized.) Click OK and you’re all set.

Once you export your pattern tile, open the new file in Photoshop or Preview. Zoom in until you can see individual pixels and examine all the edges to make sure there aren’t any problems. 

Kris Ruff

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Class available for one-time purchase or on Skillshare.com

Exporting pattern tiles is just one of the topics covered in “Repeat Patterns in Adobe Illustrator,” THE online class for learning the simplest, most effective ways to create, edit and export repeat patterns.
It’s not just a how-to-make-a-repeat tutorial. It covers the whole process, from concept and basic methods — including the pattern tool, to editing, creating brick and half-drop repeats, and how to save and export your files.
So whether you’re a complete beginner wanting to make your first pattern or an experienced pattern designer interested in easier, more efficient ways to create patterns, you’ll find valuable information in this class that you’ll refer to again and again. 

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