There are two kinds of image file types when working with digital art files: raster and vector. Both of these image types can be saved with many different file extensions. It’s important to know when to use each of these file extensions and which image type is required for each particular situation.
Printed products require block color without color gradients. The art you provide us for printing should be line art form in vector format. Think sports team logos. We cannot use full color photographs or any images with color gradients because they do not translate well on the final products. Laser etched orders require gray scale images. We reserve the right to refuse orders based on complicated or unusable art. Please take the time to understand the required art formats. It will help save us time and save you money in setup fees.
What is Vector Art?
Vector images are flexible art files that can be resized for use in printing and production. This art format uses mathematical formulas that establish points on a grid instead of individual colored blocks, and is great for creating graphics that frequently need to be resized. Vector files can be stretched or resized without losing any of the image quality to distortion. Your brand graphics and company logo should be created as a vector and saved as a master file so you can use it with smaller items such as our mini keychain grinders or larger items like our custom stash boxes. Acceptable art file formats include: .svg (preferred), .AI, .PDF, .PSD, .TIFF, .EPS.
*A PDF is generally a vector file. However, depending how a PDF is originally created, it can be either a vector or a raster file. Choosing to flatten the layers of your file or retaining each one will determine the image type. Saving a raster file as a vector format does not make it vector art.
What is Raster Art?
Raster images, also known as bitmap art, are images that are made up of colored blocks called pixels and use many individual building blocks to form a complete image. GIFs, JPEGs and PNGs are common raster image file types. Raster images are normally used for print catalogs and web images.
Because raster images are constructed using a fixed number of colored pixels, they can’t be dramatically resized without compromising their resolution. When stretched to fit a space they weren’t designed to fill, their pixels become visibly jagged and the image is distorted. This is why altered photos may appear pixelated or low resolution. Therefore, it is important that you save raster files at precisely the dimensions needed to eliminate possible complications. Because they can infinitely adjust in size without losing resolution, vector files are more versatile for certain types of tasks than raster files.
Art Preparation for Etched Products
Etched products are produced differently than printed products. Printed products are decorated in the color(s) of choice. What you see is what you get but etched products are decorated much differently. Since there is no distinction of colors the image needs to be edited down to minimal colors to be used. Black and dark colors are etched away completely while white or light colors are unaffected leaving the original product color. In cases where multiple colors are required we vary the dot density based on how dark or light the colors are to give the perception of multiple tones. See image at right.