When our customers begin the process of submitting designs for printing, we often find that there is confusion regarding the type of art files that we need to receive from them. The confusion seems to center around Vector graphics files. Most people who are not professional graphic designers do not know what Vector art is. Indeed, there are even some people working as graphic designers that do not know what vector graphics are. Vector art is created using vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These programs use mathematic equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, camera ready, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality or fidelity.
Scalability is one of the main reasons that Vector art files are so valuable to printers. The same art file can be used to reproduce your design on something as small as a business card, or something as large as a billboard, without any loss of quality. The file types are SVG, EPS, PDF, AI, DXF. In the following graphic, we will show the difference in appearance between Vector art and the other, more common type of computer graphic, Raster art:
*Vector files: Useful in many different environments.*
When you’re working digitally, there are two kinds of image file types: raster and vector. Both image types may be saved with several different file extensions. It’s important to understand when to use each image type and the best file extension for particular situations.
Vector files are images that are built by mathematical formulas that establish points on a grid. Raster files are composed of the colored blocks commonly referred to as pixels. Because they can infinitely adjust in size without losing resolution, vector files are more versatile for certain types of tasks than raster files. The most common types of vector files are:
- *.ai:* Short for Adobe Illustrator, this file is commonly used in print media and digital graphics, such as logos.
- *.eps:* Encapsulated PostScript is an older type of vector graphics file. .eps files don’t support transparency in the way more modern file formats like .ai do.
- *.pdf:* The Portable Document Format is built for the exchange of documents across platforms and is editable in Adobe Acrobat.
- *.svg:* The Scalable Vector Graphics format is based in XML (a markup language used widely across the Internet that's readable by both machines and humans). It’s useful for the web, where it can be indexed, searched, and scripted.