- Vector vs. Raster
- Does image file types (jpg, png, tif, pdf..etc) matter?
- Dimensions at 300 PPI (DPI) at 100% size
- Requirements for Vinyl Lettering
- Requirements for Window Decals / Window Clings
- Requirements for Vinyl Banners
- Requirements for Car Magnets
Vector vs. Raster
There are two main types of of image files: Raster (bitmap) and Vector. Raster images are created with pixel-based programs (ie. Adobe Photoshop) or are taken with a camera or a scanner. Vector images are created using a vector or drawing software (ie. Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw) and are normally used for images that will be applied to a physical product.
In layman's terms, the main difference is that a raster image is limited with its dimensions, while a vector image is scalable to any size/dimension.
These two images may look identical at 100% size. The one on the left is a raster image and the one on the right is a vector image. The difference is more apparent when the two images are enlarged.
Comparing the two images now, you can see that the image on the left starts to blur just a tad, while all of the lines and edges on the vector file (right) are still very crisp. When we zoom in even further, the difference becomes more apparent.
Why does this matter? Well, it comes down to how crisp and clear you would like your signage or artwork printed. If you were to get your logo or image printed on a sticker or banner, you should always try to send us a vector file to have the greatest results.
However, there are moments when it is physically impossible to provide us with a vector file, most commonly if you are trying to get a photograph or a scanned artwork printed. In this case, you would have to meet the DPI or PPI requirements depending on what kind of media you would like your image printed on.
Raster images will blur when zoomed in beyond 100%. Vector images will NEVER blur, no matter how enlarged they are.
Does image file types (jpg, png, tif, pdf..etc) matter?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding image requirements.
The short answer is yes. However, the answer is not as simple as that might sound. When we get asked, "what kind of image should I send in? I can send you a jpeg or PDF", then our answer is almost always the "PDF". Most vector files we receive are either EPS or PDF (with AI and SVG files close in 3rd and 4th).
However, we can open any raster image file in Photoshop and save it as any file type, so technically the file type does not matter...if you do not have a vector file.
We have consulted with many customers that send in low resolutions files, and when we ask them for a vector PDF, AI, or EPS, they simply save the file as a different file type and send that to us. This does not work!!
If you know you have a vector file, send in the file as a PDF, EPS, AI, or SVG. If you do NOT have a vector file, it really doesn't matter which type you send in. Just make sure you are sending in the highest resolution image that you can find.