Vector Artwork: What it is and Why you should use it

When it comes to the printing, branded apparel, sign and graphic design world there is often confusion about what is print ready artwork.  Many times our customers will ask us to blow up a picture or graphic to print on a banner or a customized t-shirt.  When we open and examine the file, we find that it is too small and too low of resolution to be used for the purpose intended.  Using such files results in poor print / image quality resulting in “pixilation” and blurriness.

Best Type of Artwork for Reproduction

For reproduction purposes, the best type of artwork to use is what is referred to as Vector Artwork.  It is created using software programs like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc.  Vector artwork uses polygons/mathematical algorithms that allow the artwork to be enlarged without losing its resolution or quality.  Vector artwork will work for a very small print product, such as a business card, but can also be enlarged to work for larger products such as banners, signs, wall art, etc., without any loss of quality.  Typical vector file extensions include .ai, .eps, .cdr, and .pdf.  One should be aware, however, that not all artwork saved with those file extensions is a vector file.  Sometimes one of the illustrative design softwares, such as Adobe Illustrator, are used to open a non-vector file and then are re-saved as one of the vector formats without actually recreating (or vectorizing) the artwork using the vector process.  It’s kind of like taking a file with an image of a “cat” and resaving it as a file named “dog” and thinking that its then going to change the image into a dog. It doesn’t work that way.

What's Next

If you are working with a graphic designer, make sure that he/she creates your artwork using the vector process and that the give you those vector files. If you use us for your graphic design needs, it will be automatic.  

Now, you don’t have to use vector for all or your visual marketing needs, as long as the non-vector format is high enough resolution for intended product.  However, using a vector format will ensure a good quality imprint regardless of the size of the end product.

Check out the Instant Imprints gallery to see how we take vector files and make your brand visible.

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