VECTOR VS NON-VECTOR ARTWORK

Wherever possible, but in particular for screen printing – we ask that you send your artwork to us in a vectored format. Though we realise that this is often easier said then done. Designers sometimes mix non-vector and vector artwork together in one file or provide more than one file format for the same artwork. We have therefore made this useful guide to vector and non-vector artwork to help recognise it.

All artwork fits into two categories, vector and non-vector (also known as bitmap or raster).:

RASTER ART

Raster art (sometimes referred to as bitmap art), is artwork made up of pixels. All photographs are raster images and other artwork such as graphic images created in raster-editing programs like Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, can be raster images. A pixel is a square of colour and an image is made when lots of these pixels are put together. These files will have names ending in .jpeg, .gif, .jpg or .bmp. If you enlarge these images (or even zoom in on them, when viewing them onscreen), these images become increasingly pixelated, with their edges appearing jagged / blurred / squarey, and innumerable shades of every colour in the image can be picked up on.

VECTOR ART

Vector art is created using illustration or drawing software such as Adobe Illustrator. These programs use mathematic equations and geometric principles such as points, line and shape with specific coordinates of their starting & ending points. This creates simple art which is clean, crisp and can be scaled indefinitely without losing any quality or fidelity. Vectored artwork can also be recoloured, separated into it’s various smaller parts and played with in countless ways at the click of a mouse. This is why we love to work with vectored artwork and prefer artwork to be sent in this format. Such files will end among some other file extensions in .ai, .pdf, .eps, and .svg.

Please note that in order for artwork to be vectored, it needs to have been created in a vector-based program. Placing a raster image in a vector program and saving it as an .ai or .pdf for example will note make it vectored unfortunately. However, saving vectored artwork as a .jpeg or .psd file for example will rasterise it.

If your artwork is rasterised, but looks like it may have been created in a vector-based program (i.e. if it is not photographic), then it may be well worth your while contacting whoever sent you the image to see if they also have the original vectored artwork on file.

If no original vectored artwork exists for your image, then sometimes it can be redrawn, but this can be costly and time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the image.

Raster artwork can be used for certain embellishment methods, subject to artwork complexity, order quantity etc. However we cannot improve the quality of a raster image so we recommend only using artwork that is saved at size at a high resolution (300dpi – dots per inch or higher). High-resolution artwork can also sometimes be used to screen print from, but it can require costly separations or add time to the processing of your artwork in other ways, which can potentially delay your order.