Part I: Why Printers Need Vector Art

Part I:  Why Printers Need Vector Art

You have decided on your campaign medium. You have worked with your marketing department to determine who will receive the campaign gifts and how many you will need.  The art department has prepared the image, font, and size.   You place the order, but there’s another challenge.  The production company cannot print the promotional items. They claim that your image is not vector art. Now what?

Vector Art

Well, most printing houses prefer vector art for printing material goods. Vector art is created using special drawing software programs like Adobe Illustrator, which uses mathematical equations to create intricate, path-based shapes that together create an image such as a log.  Every detail in the image – lines, curves, strokes of color – relates back to a vector path. This allows the image to be scaled larger or smaller without sacrificing the quality of the image.  The vector path is a mathematically based instruction that your printer can interpret.

The beauty of vector art is that no matter how the file is scaled, it will always be clear and the colors vibrant. The printer can scale it small for the side of a matchbox or large for a banner across your storefront. It will always look sharp. Vector art exists in several different file types including .eps, .pdf, or .ai.

Raster vs. vector image

Raster Art

Scanned images and photographs are examples of raster art.  Composed of millions of tiny square pixels that each contain information about one color, raster art gets blurry when you enlarge it; it becomes “pixelated.”  The small, square pixels that form raster art become visible as you zoom in on the image. While they maintain their clarity when you reduce them, they aren’t very useful when you enlarge them for, say, a poster.  Typical forms of raster art include .jpg, .png, and .tiff files.

Text to Vector Conversion

When outlining text or type, you change the typed text into graphic shapes. This creates vector images.  And ensures that printers can accurately read and output all fonts.  Text to vector conversions are particularly useful when working with custom-designed fonts that wouldn’t be readily found on all computers or printers.

In Conclusion, Use Vector Art

The bottom line is that if you want your image, logo, photograph or text to be the highest quality file format so that it is the most flexible, i.e. scalable, make sure that it is vector art.  That way, your printer can size the image to fit your matchbox, matchbook, lighter or other promotional product no matter how large or small without losing the image quality.

Part II: Rose is Rose by Any Other Color Chart

Part III: Decoration Methods and Techniques


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