Types of Artwork Files

Let’s talk about the basic file types and their common uses. You should have your logo files in ALL of these file types so you have the right file for any situation. You should also have your logo in color, in solid black and white and also in a grayscale file. It is always best to supply the exact type of file needed for a specific job.

This is usually a vector file and is the preferred file type in the marketing field. Vector files are scalable. They will always remain crisp and clean whether 1/4” or 14 feet. Chances are you will not be able to open a .eps file, but your printer or graphic designer will. The EPS file is needed for any promotional item imprint, screen printing or for signs because of its ability to be scaled without loosing quality.

The most universally used file type, a .jpg can be used across most platforms and applications. It cannot be scaled without loosing resolution. This file type is best used on-line and in Powerpoint presentations. It can be printed in high resolution as long as you use it at 100% or smaller and does not need to be enlarged. A jpg file will alway have a white background. It should not be used on a background with color or over an image because it will have a white box around it (unless you have a colored background as part of your JPG image).

The TIF is an image format file for high-quality graphics. TIF files (Tagged Image Format File) are very versatile when used in printing, however they can not be used on web pages.

Best used online. A .png file can have a transparent background so it will not have a white box background like a jpg. It can also be used in print depending on how you are printing. If you are printing to a desktop printer or digital file, it will be fine. It is not ideal if you are sending it to an offset press for 4-color Process printing because a PNG is always an RGB file and is not CMYK.

Portable Document Format – this file type is used across all platforms and captures all of the elements of a document in an electronic image that can be viewed or printed on most computers. It is usually the preferred file type because it embeds fonts and images without attaching the font and image files. If you create artwork in Microsoft Word, you can SAVE AS as pdf. NOTE: For offset printing, if you are using a design program (Illustrator, InDesign, CorelDraw) it is always best to convert all fonts to curves before sending a PDF.

When you area asked for artwork, please pay attention to what you are being asked for, there is a reason you are asked for that type of file. As always, if you need help, contact us, we are here to help you grow your business!

What is Vector Art and Why Do You Need It?

Vector art is a term that describes artwork created using a vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These programs use mathematic equations (which create points) to create art that is clean, camera ready, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality. Art that is created in Photoshop or any other program is not vector art it is bitmap or raster art. Raster art is pixel-based art which is why it can get jaggy or bitmapped when you enlarge it.

There are two main reasons you need a vector file.
1. It is scalable so you can make 1″ or 1000′ (or more) and it will not loose any quality.
2. It can be manipulated – ex. you can change the color

Think of vector art as pieces of paper stacked up on each other creating a design vs. a photo. In the stacked paper, you can remove one of the layers of the colored paper or take it out and replace it with another color. You cannot manipulate the photo in any way. It is a flat image.

See the photo below. You can easily see the difference between the low resolution JPG and the high resolution jpg. But the high resolution JPG and the Vector file look very similar. The high resolution JPG will work when printing on paper if the image is going to be small it will loose resolution when enlarged.

As you can see in the photo below we have zoomed in – the high resolution JPG is jagged while the vector art is crisp and clean. The more we enlarge the JPG image the more jagged it becomes. You can enlarge the vector art infinitely and it will always remain crisp and clean.

The last photo (below) shows what happens if we want to adjust the color or any part of the image. When you click on an image in an image editing program, it will show you the points which are used to adjust an image. On the JPG you will see there are 4 corner points – that means that we can only adjust the size of the image. While on the vector image, you will see hundreds of points. Each point is can be adjusted, changed or deleted to change the image. We can select a specific part of the image and change the color. With the JPG we can not adjust any part of the image, we can only adjust the size of the image as a whole.


Can I save my image file as an .eps to make it vector?

No, that just makes it an image file with a .eps extension. The only way to make a vector file is to “draw” it in an illustration program.

What extension does a vector file have?

A vector file can have a .ai, .eps, .crd or even .pdf extension. If the extensions .jpg, .tif, .png, .psd or .gif it is definitely not a vector file. But, remember, it is not the extension that makes it vector, it is how it was created. Just because it is a .eps file does not mean it is vector.

How can I get vector art?

You can contact the person who originally designed your logo to see if they can supply it in a vector format. If that is not an option, contact us, we do that! Once we see your logo, we can give you a quote on the cost to recreate it in a vector format. The price will depend on the complexity of your logo. (pricing starts at $35.)