What is vector artwork and why should we use it?
As with most custom printed products, our printing machines work best and achieve the best print quality when using "vector" files. These are logo and artwork files that can be reduced and enlarged in size without any pixelated ("jagged") edges or loss of quality. These file types also allow the design colors to be adjusted if needed to ensure the correct Pantone (PMS) color match when printing on different substrates (such as a silver metal badge or when printing on a glossy material). In addition, some production processes, such as laser engraving, can only read files in black and white. Therefore, if you order an engraved badge but supply your logo in color, the printer operator needs to be able to convert your file into a format that the engraving machines can read (black and white). Providing a vector file will allow the printer to be able to make these adjustments quickly and easily, which wouldn't be possible using a non-vectored file type.
Aside from being more precise, a vector format is not a flat image. Bitmap images are flat and can be stuck to a white background that is not able to be removed. This is the case with almost all bitmap images and becomes prolematic when trying to print your design on a colored background, for example. If you would like to have a name badge with an all blue background and print your logo on top in red, but you're using a flat bitmap image, what you'll end up with is a blue badge with a white square that contains your red logo. With a vector file, no white square would be present as vector images can have transparent backgrounds, therefor achieving a red logo directly on a blue background would definitely be possible.
Common vector formats are files that end with .EPS, .CDR, or .AI, which are produced in programs like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw!. Examples of non-vectored (bitmap) artwork include .JPG, .PNG, .TIF, and .GIF.
Can you just drag your .JPG file into a program such as Illustrator or Corel and save it as an .EPS file? NO! Saving a bitmap inside a file type like .EPS or .AI will not turn that piece of art into a vector file. It will only embed the bitmap in the file. Some professional programs have a function to trace a bitmap into vector, but even still it can be a difficult process without proper knowledge on how to do this. So...
Let Lonestar Badge and Sign do the file convertion for you! The fee for this is $35.00 per hour. Most logos can be converted in just one hour, but we will contact you if additional time might be needed due to extremely complex or detailed designs, or designs that are just super low quality to start with. Once we convert the file, we can use it to print high quality products for you and will even send you the vector file to keep and use for any further printing projects you might have in the future.
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