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Proforma Impact Print & Promo
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What is "Vector Art"?

Often, when our customers begin the process of submitting designs for printing, we find that there is confusion regarding the type of art that we need to receive from them. This confusion seems to center around Vector graphics files. Most people who are not professional graphic designers do not know what Vector art is. Indeed, there are even some people working as graphic designers, who do not know what vector graphics are. We hope, in the following section, to bridge that gap, at least a little bit. We will describe, as best we can, what vector art is, and how to recognize it. Vector art is created using vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, and Corel Draw, among others. These programs use mathematical equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, camera ready, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality or fidelity. In the following graphic, we will show you the difference between Vector art and the other kind of computer graphic, Raster art:


You’ll notice how, in the Raster art file, the edges of the art become distorted when the picture is enlarged. You’ll also notice how there are hundreds of shades of green in the Raster file, but only one shade of green in the Vector file.

Raster Graphics, such as photographs, and graphics files created in Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and other Raster editing programs, can be used for some screen printing applications, such as printing one-color pen and ink drawings. But in most cases, especially with art such as logos, we will need Vector art to achieve the proper print.

Vector art is usually created in Adobe Illustrator, and is commonly saved as a particular file type: .ai

Vector art can be saved in other file formats (such as .eps or .pdf). But, it is important to remember that just because a file is saved in one of these formats, that does not mean that it is truly vector art. Only art originally created in a vector editing program, such as Adobe Illustrator, is truly vector art.

So, how do you know if your art file is a vector art file? The best way to find out for sure is to ask a graphic designer to check the file for you. This is a service that we are happy to provide, free of charge.

Also, you can identify vector art by process of elimination. There are some file formats that can only be Raster art, and therefore cannot be Vector art. The most common examples are .jpeg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .psd, .tif. These files cannot be vector art.

Also, keep in mind that if a professional design created your art for you, chances are they may have your artwork saved as vector art, even if they have not sent that file to you. Some designers do not provide their clients with vector art, as they assume that the client will not be able to open the file. So, if you had a professional logo designed for you, but all you have is a JPEG, or something similar, contact your artist, and ask then for vector art.