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.
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:
- 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
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.
- 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.
So, make sure that you have a vector art file of your logo!