Raster vs Vector Art Files
“How do I get the best possible look for my graphic or sign?”
The best quality design would be the marriage of these 2 images:
* High-resolution Raster files for photo imagery
* Vector files for fonts, stripes, shapes, logos etc…
* PMS Color Match codes to ensure proper color, if needed.
“I just need a sign…”
Its okay, we understand this techno-jargon is not for everyone. You do what you do best and so do we. Just give us a call and we’ll see what you have for us to work with and how we can work around it. Most times, we can “rebuild” an image and make it print-worthy.
To learn more, please read on…
Raster vs Vector in layman’s terms.
Raster images are created by a pattern of colored dots (as in a digital photo, internet logos, photos & graphics, scanned photos, Photoshop images etc…). The original image is usually sharp enough to use for its originalpurpose. Unfortunately, because of the lack of “digital information”, when enlarging this image for large-format digital printing, the colored dots become larger, making the image blurry or “jaggy” around the edges and therefore not appropriate for photo-quality large-format digital printing.
Solution: In order to obtain the best quality to print a raster image, you must locate and use the original digital source file (file from camera, your designer’s working file, your marketing firm).
Accepted Raster Files: Digital File from your Camera, Edited Photoshop File (same original file size or better along with effects & fonts files), Jpg over 5mb, .Tif over 5mb.
If you wish photographic quality, the minimum size of an original source single photo file (direct from camera or an edited Photoshop file of same size) should be at least 8mb.
Raster graphic files that are not accepted for large-format digital printing: Word, Excel, “Save As” Internet Graphics, Jpgs and .Tifs under 3mb. If your graphic will be viewed from a distance, there may be some exceptions.
Vector images are created by closed single line shapes that are “filled in” with color & effects in software programs (Adobe Illustrator (.ai, .eps, Corel Draw .cdr). When a vector image is enlarged, it retains the sharpness needed to create a quality large-format digital print. Aside from photos, all fonts, lines, shapes, logos should be created as a vector to ensure sharpness and clarity.
PMS is the Pantone Matching System that designers use to allocate a number system to colors they when designing and printing corporate logos and graphics. Imagine seeing a FedEx truck with a different purple or a McDonalds sign more orange than red? Color is extremely important in corporate branding. These color codes help keep the consistency of color from one print industry to the other.
How can I tell how large is a file?
When you right-click on any image file in your computer, a menu will open, go to Properties. You will see the size information. This tells you how large (how much digital info it has).
1 kb Kilobytes (equals 100,000 bytes)
1 mb Megabytes (equals 1 million bytes)
The larger the file, the more digital information, the better quality image.
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