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What the Heck is a Vector File!

One of the first questions I ask clients before starting their promotional product project is: “Do you have a logo and images in a vector format?”

From my experience, even the most sophisticated marketers have a few questions about vector files, so I wanted to give you more details on why you need to know about them and how it will save you time and money.

A little background: In the promotional products industry, files and logos that are in vector format can be enlarged or shrunk down to any size. That’s a good thing. Vector objects can also be edited and colors can be quickly swapped out, which gives flexibility and options for graphic improvement. Sometimes logos also need to be a single color and specific size.  This ensures that they end up looking clear, crisp and of course, of high quality.

Let me explain a bit further.

Vector graphics and their shapes are made up of points that can be modified and manipulated without their artwork becoming pixelated.

Sometimes my clients will send me their logo and images in JPG,.JPEF, PDF and .GIF format. These are raster files and won’t work for promotional projects because they’re not high quality and can’t be sized correctly. Raster graphics are made up a finite number of pixels that take up a specific amount of space. You might have seen the word bitmap?  That’s another term for raster files.

Confused yet?

When an image is in a raster format as you enlarge it, it will become blurrier until it reaches the point where it is unrecognizable. Photographs are always in a raster format as well as the graphics used in a website.

What does all of this mean?

Next time you see these common file extensions, .AI and .EPS you’ll know that they’re for vector graphics.  And Adobe Illustrator is one of the most popular vector-based software designers to create those files.

It’s great to have your logo in JPEG and PNG formats, but to create really sharp and detailed logos for your promotional products, remember to ask your designer for files in vector format. It will save you and your promotional product vendor (that’s me) time and effort ensuring your premiums, clothing or gifts will turn out sharp and just the way you want them (without any returns to the manufacturer).

I hope you find this information useful as you plan for your upcoming promotional projects and events. I’ll quiz you later raster master.