What File Do I Need?

Feature-Image

Getting your printing and branded gear done can be very simple, especially if you have the right art file format!  “Wait, there is a right and wrong version of my logo?” Good question…the answer is yes and no.  There are numerous art file formats, each one serving a purpose, but certain file formats are needed to make your promo and print items look great.

I know talking about file formats is not very exciting, but here is a quick tutorial to help with understanding a bit more about file types…

What is the best file format for print and promo?

Here is the answer… a vector file!

Vector based images can be scaled to any size without degradation of the image. You want your logo to look as crisp and clear on your trade show banner as it does on your business card.

Pixel based images do not enlarge well. The quality is lost and you end up with a blurry image. Everything on the web is low resolution (72dpi), so if you copy your logo off your website, it will not be suitable for print or promo.

A vector logo will be the most universally useful to you and your vendors. When working with a logo designer, be sure that your logo is being created in vector format and make sure you request the final vector files.

Pixel-Version Vector-Version

What are the different file types and which ones are vector?

VECTOR BASED FILES:

AI files
Ai stands for Adobe Illustrator, one of the most widely used graphic design programs in the world.  Usually a file with the extension “.ai” is an original design file.  Ai files can only be opened using the Adobe Illustrator program and cannot be opened in other applications.

EPS files
EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript.  PostScript is the universal language used by computer printers.  This type of graphics file can be opened in almost any other application from Word and PowerPoint to layout-based programs such as InDesign.  It can easily be reduced and enlarged without loss of resolution and is the best file to give to a printer or promotional products provider for reproducing your logo on the branded gear.

PIXEL BASED FILE:

TIFF files
TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format.  This type of graphics file is compressed, meaning that it has been pared down to contain only vital information.  Like an EPS file, a TIFF file can also be opened in almost any other application.  However, a TIFF file is sometime referred to as the Biggest Loser file because it cannot be enlarged without loss of resolution; it can only be reduced.

JPG Files
This graphics file is also compressed and can open in almost any other application.  JPG files are typically used for on-screen purposes, such as websites and PowerPoint presentations; this is because the files are smaller than EPS or TIFF files.  They are not ideal for print or promo and cannot be resized without significant loss of resolution.

GIF files
These are used in the same fashion as JPG files but are compressed even more, making them ideal for graphics with solid fields of color; because of their high compression, these files should not be used for graphics with gradients (such as photographs).

And lastly, here’s a tip:
If you don’t have a vector file format, just saving your .jpeg file as an .eps file doesn’t magically make it a vector format.  You will need to go to your designer and ask for a vector file of your logo.  Or you can ask your promo or print vendor to redraw your logo to a vector format.

Here is a screen printed shirt.  One shirt was done with a vector file and the other was done with a pixel based file format.

Vector File

Vector

Pixel Based File

Non-Vector

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