Make sure you have the right type of art file for your logo. First of all, make sure that you have a high-resolution file of your logo that you’re working with. The size of a file is measured in “dots per inch”, or DPI, and you should have a file that’s at least 300 DPI to create your printed, embroidered or etched materials with.

But, what most people don’t know is that there are 2 different basic types of high-resolution art, raster and vector art files. These differ in some fundamental ways:

  • Raster files, like Photoshop, TIF or JPEG files, are made up of a matrix of little squares, called pixels. Each pixel is assigned a particular color, and the combination of those pixels, paired with their relatively small size, makes the image appear smooth.

Raster files are not ideal to work with in a printing situation for several reasons.

  • They are difficult to scale cleanly. While scaling a raster file down in size can sometimes be accomplished well by reducing the number of squares that make up the illustration, you cannot scale a raster image up because there just isn’t enough data in a small raster file
  • It’s impossible to cleanly separate the different colors in an illustration from one another for printing because all the shapes in a raster illustration blend into each other
  • The edges of the design are not smooth because they are made up of the previously-mentioned little squares. While you may not be able to see this “chunkiness” on a computer screen, or even on an inkjet printer, it often becomes apparent once the graphic has been printed by a professional printer
  • Lastly, raster files often wind up being very large in terms of the amount of storage space they require – so they can be too large to email to a vendor. More on the importance of being able to easily transfer a file later.
  • Vector files, such as Illustrator or Freehand files, are ideal for the creation of promotional products. Remember studying vectors in high-school geometry class? A vector is basically defined by 2 points, and the curve of the line that connects those points. Vector art files consist of a series of points and lines. What does that mean for you? It means that you get a lot of distinct advantages over a raster file format:
    • You can scale your graphics while maintaining the smoothness of the lines. A vector file can be scaled up to be as big as a billboard, or as small as a postage stamp, while maintaining it’s visual and printing integrity.
  • Export your file to any format. Some projects require multiple formats, sizes and resolutions of your logo. For example, if you’re creating a promotional DVD, you might need a large logo for the cover, a smaller logo to screenprint on the disc itself, and a video logo to play in the credits of your movie. If you start from a raster file, creating all of these files might be difficult. But, with a vector file, you can simply scale the art up and down, and then export the file to the ideal format for your use.
  • Separating the colors for printing purposes is often as easy as clicking a button. So is changing the color format of your logo to print in fewer colors, to keep the cost of your promotional item down.
  • The edges will be smooth, no matter what size you make the art or what media you’re reproducing it in.
  • A vector art file is often very small in file size and easy to attach to any email.
  • So, make sure that you have a vector art file of your logo!