Why to Use Vector Graphics, for superior photographic Quality Printing - Signs, Banner, Graphics, Wall Murals, and more!
All graphic art files are grouped into two core types of categories in the digital printing world:
Rasters images (AKA 'bitmaps') and Vector images.
Raster images are created by compiling an array of dots(closely looking like the Original Super Mario Brothers) and vectors are images composed of connected points, lines curves; which formulate a mathematical piece of artwork that can be adjusted into an exponetial array of sizes without distortion to the quality of the graphics.
Common vector formats include: PDF (Adobe Acrobat-Portable Document Format), EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), AI (Adobe Illustrator), CDR (CorelDraw). ALL of Which your standard home computer may not be able to open - NO need to Fear! We at Signs By Tomorrow - Allentown have the capabilities to work with these files(even if you can not see them - We ALWAYS send you a Proof for production[unless you request not to] for you to review and approve so you can see exactly what you are getting prior to manufacturing. It is our way to have your back and double check for photographic quality accuracy. We want your prints to be perfect which is why prior to any sign, banner, graphic, monument, ADA sign, wall mural or car wrap we provide you with an image of your project for your review and approval.
Common raster formats include: JPG (JointPhotographic Experts Group), TIF (Tagged Image Format), PNG (Portable Network Graphics), PSD(Photoshop Document) and BMP (Bitmap).
Images downloaded or saved from the web, ARE ALMOST ALWAYS low-resolution raster images! Even when they are copied and pasted from your own companies website. Web graphics are never the best choice for Photographic quality printing and editing. The small file types are typically acceptable for the internet and webpage due to their fast ability to transfering (but when it comes to printing with the Pros they are NEVER recommended for high qualty digital prints - Can you imagine what a 2" x 2" Jpeg would look like on one of our custom wall murals? It would instantly bring you back to the quality of the 80's era video arcades[which might look neat for the right market audience and product though rarely seen for todays modern business professional in the digital printing age]
A more definitive break down of Raster Versus Vector Images - and what you see.
Raster images are a collective of dots called pixels(think bathroom tiles[by the way we can print on that!]. These pixels are assembled by individual tiny colored squares(and we do mean tiny!). Even a vector image can turn into this Raster image when scanned, taken as a photograph or resaved as a common raster file type(jpeg) - at that time the image is converted to a collection of pixels and that is when it turns into a raster image. Scanned graphics and web graphics (JPEG and PNGfiles) are the most common forms of these raster images.
Important factors for using Raster Images(Use with Caution and ONLY when it is the LAST resort in digital printed graphics):
The resolution of a raster image is measured in terms of the pixels per inch or ppi, or also expressed as dots per inch (dpi). This measure also correlates to a printers resolution also is measured in DPI.
So what happens when you take a fairly small but high resolution graphic and enlarge it(which is typically done in the sign and printing industry as with our custom work we like to go BIG AND BOLD!)
If you take a small 2" x 2" graphic at 300 DPI and enlarge it to twice(2x) the size (making the print size 4" x 4") the new DIP will be 1/2 that of the original - or 150 DPI. What happens with a Raster is that every time you increase the size the numbers of square tiles does not increase only the size of the tiles - so just like your bathroom floor if you go from a smaller tile to a large tile all that happens is the tile size changes and you get even less( think of a mosaic - the smaller the tiles the more details the mosaic can be and the opposite is true when you go to bigger tiles and less detail).
While this holds true for Raster images - Vector artwork does not allow this to happen. In vector the artwork is create from lines, shapes, and fill colors are actually created using mathematical formulas that allow your artwork to expand and contract Digitally. Think of it this way if you have a square that is 2" x 2" the formula for that shape is Width x Height(and that is how the computer recognizes that shape) so with 2" x 2" the shape is always 2"(Height) x 2"(Width) and will stay that same dimensionality regardless if you change the height to 4" or 400" - The computer knows that if you make that shape at Height x Width it will adjust the width according to the appropriate height to keep the size proportionate. This works for all shapes, lines, and fills.
With any photographic image, the digital machine receiving that information will be translated to your artwork raster file - so if not shot accurately with a gray card you can have a wide range of variances with your final print color - if your camera is really warm your colors will have a tonality that will remind you of a tropical desination - too cold and you can be living in the artic. With Raster images the colors are what they are not editable so once you have that in your artwork file you are really stuck if you needed to change an individual color in a file.
With Vector artwork the colors are individual objects associated with the line, shape, object you are working with. With these scalable details you can individually select(in most editable vector graphics) the indivdual colors to cross reference and calebrate on standard printing charts and standards. In our digital printing industry we cross reference and calebrate our machines to reference Pantone Printing charts. This is the gold standard in the digital printing world and what we use to ensure your final print is a beautiful vibrant CMYK color.
File Size(for raster images)
If you absolutely HAVE to use a raster(which you never neeed to settle for this as we have one of the best design teams in the country which can take most raster image logos and convert them to vector at an hourly rate)....
If you have no other option then you need to start with large enough artwork - the bare minimum for this should be 150 DPI at full size or 300 DPI at half size.
In our world we are visual people so no worries if you still are a bit confused - Seeing is believing and below is an example of the difference between Vector and Raster images.
We know at Signs By Tomorrow Allentown that the function of your goals are not set on day to day workings in the graphics industry which is why we are here to help. Regardless of your companies access to Vector graphics you do not need to fear we will ALWAYS do our best to help you fulfill your needs and provide you with the highest of digital print quality possible while exceeding your individual needs for your project! Our quality control when it comes to digital printing is top notch and our designers capabilities to collaborate with our client to find solutions for their visual needs will always be top priority as we are here to help! So let us know if you do not have a vector logo do not worry we can always create one for your business to use for our printing with you as well as all of your other digital printing, sign, and manufacturing needs!