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From business cards to billboards, why vector files matter for print

If you were asked to provide your logo for use on a business card or to be acknowledged on an event sponsor program, would you know what the optimal file format to send  would be? .eps, .ai, .jpg, .tiff, .pdf, .png,?

Most people’s first thought is to send a .jpg — a great general purpose file, but it’s not always the best choice.



The choice basically comes down to whether it will be printed (vector) or it is going online (raster).



Vector art is made up of a series of mathematical lines, curves and geometric shapes that allow the file to be scaled infinitely without losing resolution. Vector art is created in a drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator, and file formats include .ai, .eps, and .pdf.



Raster art is made up of pixels (little squares) of the same size on a grid pattern. Raster is best suited for photographs and for any file that will be used online – anything seen on your computer monitor is made up of pixels. Raster formats include .jpg, .tif, or .bmp and are generally edited in a program such as Adobe Photoshop.

Once you start to enlarge a raster file in the print world — it degrades the image and it starts to look “pixilated.”



Vector art has a transparent background, allowing it to be placed over an image or a color. Once your logo is converted to a raster format it fills any of the missing pixels with white so your logo appears to have a white box around it.logobackground


So, if you want your logo to always look its best at any size be sure to send the vector version!




Author Kris Bailey bears the unique distinction of being the first designer ever hired at Access. Fifteen years later, her passion for typography, paper, and printing are undiminished as she still works diligently in the design department, specializing in print design, as well as working with account management and as part of the leadership team. Click here to learn more.

Topics: Creative Design