• Brand-On Blog

SPEAKING PROMO – VOLUME 6: Raster Art vs Vector Art

If you’ve been following along in our Speaking Promo education series, we briefly defined raster art and vector art.  If you’re already working with us, you’ve most likely brought us raster art and have heard us ask if you have vector art, and there’s probably been an awkward moment of silence combined with a blank stare, wondering what the heck we’re talking about.  Have you ever inquired about branded apparel or promotional products and asked the question: “can’t you just grab the logo off our website?” It seems simple and logical enough, and while we make working with us as easy as 123, simple as do-re-mi (you get the point), the artwork provided is the most important piece of the process.  The more you and your marketing and design team know about the various file types, the better we can all work together to ensure your brand is properly represented, and your image is absolutely amplified. 


Raster Artwork is what you’d pull from your website by right clicking your logo and selecting save as.  These images are made up of pixels that come together to form a complete image, and are saved with the file extensions JPEG, GIF and PNG.  Raster art can be vectorized by recreating the image, however it’s super important that it’s provided in its original size. Have you ever saved a picture on Facebook to use as a 5×7 holiday card, or tried to make larger prints at a kiosk, and gotten the error message low image resolution?  Or worse, ordered said holiday cards online and your excitement upon arrival is quickly diminished because they showed up grainy and out of focus?  This is because the original photo that was uploaded to Facebook is typically a raster image, automatically posted at a certain size, and raster images aren’t meant to be stretched in any way.  The same goes for your logo at the top of your website; it’s added to the site with a fixed number of pixels specifically for that size, and any alterations to that original size will result in distortion.  That distortion and graininess also makes it extremely difficult for a graphic artist to recreate perfectly, which in turn can add up to a lot of artwork fees. We’re not fans of charging artwork fees anymore than we have to.


Vector Artwork has a completely different makeup and uses actual mathematical equations rather than tiny pixels for construction.  Quite simply, this means you can use the same art file to print at ⅝” high on a writing instrument, a 12” wide tee shirt imprint, or even a full vehicle wrap so you can proudly (and loudly) represent your brand while driving all around town.  Vector files are saved with the extensions EPS, AI and PDF, and these are the files you want to bring to bring us. That way no matter what project we’re working with you on, we already have the artwork needed and can resize it any which way, any number of times.


If you feel like you just geeked-out learning all about things you probably never thought you’d want to learn about, here’s the run-down on software programs used to create each of the above.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to take notes on this section.  If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not the designer, and this lingo is more up their alley.  Hashtag The More You Know.


JPG (JPEG) – The most universal of file types (and the majority of images you see online) JPEGs are supported by all viewing applications, and can be created and edited in Microsoft Paint.  Mac person?  You can view and create JPGs with Apple Preview and Apple Photos.


PNG – Similar to a JPG, only a compressed file so the image so it doesn’t lose its quality.  It’s a step up from a JPG for all intensive purposes, and can also be created and edited in Microsoft Paint.  Mac Person?  You’ll need Mac OS X to view or edit a PNG.


GIF – These are animated images that are combined into a single frame.  You know those 2 second ‘videos’ your friend texts you with Will Farrell bouncing around with excitement, and “THAT’S AWESOME!!” flashing around him?  That’s a GIF, and isn’t something you’d even be able to use as artwork, but hey, you learned something new today.  Mac Person?  Same.


EPS –  These are created and edited by drawing applications such as Adobe Illustrator, and other programs alike.  These programs are pretty complex and shouldn’t apply to you, so we’ll stop here. Mac Person?  Same.


AI –  Similar to an EPS, only AI files support transparency while EPS files do not.  This shouldn’t mean much to you, but that tid-bit of info might make it easier to communicate with your design team, which makes for less confusing conversations in the break room.  Mac Person?  Same.


PDF –  Designed for easy sharing across various platforms, PDFs aren’t editable, which enables them to maintain the layout of a page or image, regardless of what it’s opened with.  Since you can’t view the above vector files, we recommend sending us (and keeping) the PDF along with the AI, or preferably, the EPS file. PDFs are most commonly created and edited with Adobe Acrobat.  Mac Person?  You’ll need Mac OS X to open with Mac PDF Creator.


Stay tuned for more of our education series, where we’ll take deep dives into the various art files and coloring systems mentioned, as well as decorating methods, apparel fabrics, and so much more as our capabilities to amplify your image continue to evolve. 


For more ideas on how we can help you amplify your image, go to brand-on.us/contact-us/ where you can also subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest on sales, product releases, industry news and more.  Don’t forget to follow us on instagram using the handle @brand_on.life – all the cool kids are doing it.