As a proud Philly printing company, we take your designs seriously. We are committed to creating custom merchandise that features high-quality artwork and looks great. How do we make sure your artwork looks just as great on a t-shirt (or a hat, or a tote bag, or a coffee cup) as it does on your computer screen? To do that, we need to talk about vectors.

File Types Explained

Every file on your computer ends with a period followed by a series of letters. These letters, known as a “filename extension” denote what kind of file you’re dealing with. When it comes to image files, there are more file types than you’d imagine. Image file types can be separated into two categories: raster and vector.

Raster vs Vector

A raster image is (most simply put) a grid of individual colored pixels. When resizing a raster image, this grid remains constant and you may begin to see the edges of individual pixels, resulting in a jagged and pixelated appearance. Because properly resizing artwork is an important part of printing and custom merchandise production, we prefer to use vector images instead.

Vectors are a series of mathematical formulas that represent the lines, curves, and shapes that make up an image. This data allows images to be resized indefinitely without losing quality since they aren’t bound to a fixed grid of pixels the way raster images are. It’s easy to convert vector files to raster files, but not the other way around. Therefore, your company logo and brand graphics should be stored as vector files to give you the most flexibility of use. Vectors are necessary for high-quality printing and embroidery.

Common raster filename extensions include .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, and .TIF, while vector filename extensions include .AI, .EPS, and .SVG.

The Benefits of Using Vectors

As mentioned, the ability to scale graphics indefinitely without loss of quality is (in our opinion) the most valuable feature vectors have to offer. Additionally, vectors:

  • Are easily editable
  • Have a smaller file size, and therefore
    • Are easy to share
    • Use less storage
  • Can be used as a “master copy” to create other file types (like raster images) from

How to Create Vector Graphics

Vectors are created using Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) software like Adobe Illustrator. Vectr is an online option that is totally free-to-use. There are plenty of tutorials and resources out there to help you learn how to create vector graphics.

However, if graphic design isn’t your thing, or if you just don’t have the time, Press & Release has a wonderful design team to help you create vectors from existing artwork or scratch!

As a premier Philly printing company, we understand the importance of a crisp and clear image. Contact us today to see how we can help turn your brand images into custom merchandise.

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