At Superior Ink, we see a wide array of different types of art files depending on what customers are hoping to have created. Some artwork, like photos, are always raster files, while others like digital graphics are best as vector. Here's a breakdown of both and the different file types that correspond to help you get the right file ready to make your print process as smooth as possible!
Vector Graphics - Scalable Print Ready Artwork
Vector graphics are special in that they are not made out of pixels. Vectorizing something is essentially taking a drawing, bitmap or pixelated image and tracing it to have smooth lines.
Vector graphics use math to map out designs on a coordinate plane. This artwork is created by individual shapes and paths rather than pixels.
This type of artwork can be scaled to any size without sacrificing image quality. Common vector file formats are .svg, .cgm, .odg, .eps, and .xml. By nature a true Illustrator (.ai) file is a vector file as well.
Raster (or bitmap) graphics:
Raster images are typically photo based images composed of pixels. Raster graphics have limitations because files can only be made with a fixed number of pixels. They are typically untraceable because they contain no hard lines or shapes. This type of artwork is commonly made from gradients and images.
These files can be found as file formats such as .jpg, .png, .gif, .bmp and .tiff. We can sometimes print from larger PSD files if they are very high resolution and pairing it with our in house separation processes.
Vector images can be flattened into a raster image (pixels) easily. Once any vector image or text is saved as a png, it becomes a raster image. Some raster images can be vectorized or traced depending on the art. High resolution artwork with hard lines works best for tracing.
What type of art files do we need from you?
We can typically use the following files without having to modify them:
- Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
- Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)
- Solid Vector Graphics (.svg)
- Portable Document Format (.pdf)
Print Ready Artwork
Print ready artwork is a file that has the correct file type, resolution and dimensions for the final product. It must include all fonts and must be 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch) or greater to retain clarity and detail throughout the printing process. It also has to be a file that has the ability to separate layers, colors, etc.It is important to note that the clearer your artwork is, the better the print will look.
What programs can be used to create graphics for printing?
It is safe to say that Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are the best apps to create print ready art with. Corel draw is another notable program for using both vector and raster graphics. There are also a handful of other programs that you can make graphics on with varying success.
*Note- Adobe Photoshop creates raster images, not vectors
What if my graphics are not print ready?
If your graphics are not print ready, we can always make them print ready for you. Depending on how far away from print ready your design is, we would either trace and recreate the artwork or make the graphics conceptually. If the image is high resolution, we will need to review it to make sure we can print it. If it is a single color image or very high resolution picture, we may be able to print it with little to no modification.
If the artwork is a physical piece, it would need to be scanned prior to printing and then edited.This would be the most intensive type of re-design and would require a recreation fee to make the artwork a computer graphic that resembles the physical piece.
If you would like us to make a design from scratch, please include the name of any fonts you would like us to use as well as any previous sketches, artwork, or mood boards. Typically we can have a full illustration made within a week including a revision.