A Beginner’s Look at Vector Artwork

There are times when you are involved in printing larger formats when smaller images must be made bigger it may be that a vector image is requested. For example, vector images are needed for logos and vinyl letting cut with computer that would be used on a window or van. If you are not familiar with the word, we hope that this guide will explain it to you and help you understand the difference raster/bitmap and vector images.

Basically, vectors are created using lines and are perfect for blowing up images until they are very large, without losing quality. In comparison, raster images are created using dots or pixels, losing quality when they are enlarged. One of the main reasons why vectors can be made smaller or bigger, depending on your needs without any quality being lost, is because they are made using special maths equations.

If you take two images of the same things, one in bitmap or raster and one in vector form, and enlarge them by hundreds of percent, you will easily notice differences. The raster becomes pixelated and distorted around the edges, while the vector artwork remains crisp and sharp. Graphics software like Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator and use file extensions like .PDF, . SVG, .EPS and .AI.

Although you can use bitmap files in printing, the file you are using as a source must be big enough to meet your needs. When you are working with printing and vinyl cutting, you can’t use raster files. The most common bitmap file extensions are .TIF, .PNG, .GIF and .JPG.

Ideally, you should have master files for global branding and logos for your company in vector file formats as they are the types of files used most often in different applications.

How to Determine if Your Artwork is Vector or Not

Your artwork is likely to be a vector if it has an .SVG, .EPS, .PDF and .AI file extension. Even if it has been saved as one of those formats, it doesn’t mean it’s a real vector. By far, the quickest and best way to check whether your image is vector or not is by increasing its size by 100%s and looking at the edges to see if they are pixelated or not.

Ultimately, the way you can really check is by opening it in Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator. Open the file and highlight a section of the image by using the selection tool. If there are nodes around the edge of the image, it’s a vector.

Where to get Vector Artwork

If your artwork was created by a professional graphic designer, you can get in contact with them and ask them for the artwork in a vector file format. When you have had your graphic printed, the printing company you used could provide you with a copy.

Read more: 10 Truly Awesome Royalty-Free Icon and Image Sites

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