Vector vs. Raster Artwork File Types
What is vector art?
Vector images are infinitely scalable graphics made up of geometrical paths, lines and shapes.
What is raster art?
Raster images are made up of a fixed number of dots (or pixels) and may not be scaled up (i.e., made larger than the original size) without loss of image quality.
What is the difference between vector art and a raster image?
A raster image (such as a photo) sized to 600x800 pixels is made up of 600 pixels (or small dots) across and 800 pixels from top to bottom. Trying to make this photo larger will only stretch those pixels, not add more, thereby losing the crispness of the original image.
Can I upload raster artwork for my product?
Vector artwork is always preferred where available. If your artwork contains raster images, 150-300 dpi at full size is recommended for best print quality, 72 dpi is the minimum. If you are uploading images into our online design tool, vector images are recommended where possible, but raster images are also acceptable. Be aware that the print quality of raster images depends on the size of the file you are uploading compared to the size of your product. If you are receiving a proof for your order, we will notify you of any low print quality issues if necessary, and you will have an opportunity to adjust your artwork prior to production.
Can you print in RGB?
No. Files submitted to us in RGB will have to be converted to CMYK in order to print.
RGB is an additive process that uses Red, Green, and Blue light to achieve a color. It is considered additive because one must add all three colors together to achieve white. It is used for Monitors, TV's, Phone Screens, etc. Unfortunately, it is not physically possible to print in RGB because mixing Red, Green, and Blue ink (pigment) would actually create a kind of brown color, not white as it does with the light in your computer monitor.
CMYK, on the other hand, is considered a subtractive process because, in order to get white, one must remove all color to allow the white to show through from the substrate material underneath it all.
It's also important to consider that RGB has many more color possibilities than CMYK. Never will colors on your monitor or screen match printed CMYK colors exactly. If color matching is critical, we suggest you use Pantone Solid Coated Colors in your file and order notes. With these colors, we can compare the printed graphics to our Pantone Book Standards here and get as close as possible. Here is a link to the Pantone Color Chart.
Print Ready Artwork
Minimum Artwork Requirements:
While certain products may have more specific requirements, all Print Ready Artwork must meet these basic requirements:
- PDF format (Vector images preferred, 150-300 dpi recommended for raster images.
- Actual size (we do not adjust size)
- All fonts converted to outlines
- All images embedded
Every custom sticker/decal artwork file has three main attributes: Safe Area, Cut Line and Bleed. All essential information on a sticker like text or logos should stay inside the safe area. The area outside the safety zone is for background color and bleed. Generally, the safe area begins 1/8" inside the cut line.
Any artwork that goes to the edge of the sticker should extend to the Bleed line. This creates a tolerance that ensures the background doesn’t get cut off in production. The bleed extends 1/8” out from the Cut Line.
The Cut Line is the edge of your finished sticker. Our machines cut along this path during production. The cutline is setup an 1/8” out from your artwork. Also, the cutline should have rounded corners and no unnecessary nodes.
For products that are Contour Cut:
To properly set up a cut path, use a vector shape with a .5 pt stroke in 100% magenta, and no fill. The cut path can have no sharp corners. Our standard corner radius is 1/8”. The minimum corner radius is .05”.
Our powerful and free online design tool is packed full of features. You can build your design from scratch, add text, shapes, color, clipart symbols and icons. You can upload your logo, photos or any image into the designer and change the size/shape and place it into your design. If you upload vector artwork into the designer, you can even change the colors and edit the artwork inside the designer.
Please be aware that if you are uploading images into our online design tool for your design, vector images are recommended where possible, but raster images are also acceptable. However, print quality of raster images depends on the size of the file you are uploading compared to the size of your product. If you are receiving a proof for your order, we will notify you of any low print quality issues if necessary, and you will have an opportunity to adjust your artwork prior to production.
Design for Me
When you don’t have print ready artwork, you can either use our design online tool, or have us design it for you. Once we’ve collected information from you about your design, our team will create your design for you. Within 1 business day of checking out, we will send you an online proof of your design for your review. After you have carefully reviewed your proof, you can approve it or request changes. We include (2) rounds of revisions at no additional charge to you. What this means is, if you aren’t satisfied with the first proof you can request changes. We will send your 2nd proof within 1 business day from you change request. Should you want to make more changes to the design, you will be able to request changes for a second time. Again, we will send your 3rd proof within 1 business day from your change request. After reviewing your 3rd proof, should you want to make additional changes, there will be additional charges. Because of the nature of design, these additional charges will be quoted on a per job basis.
Our Design for Me option is meant for sign layouts and less complex designs. It is not intended for creating logos or complex layouts. Therefore we limit this option to 280 characters, up to 2 logo/image placements, the insertion of typical sign symbols/elements, and basic design elements such as background colors, borders, shadowing, etc.
If you need a logo designed, or your layout/design is more involved than our Design for Me option allows, please checkout our Design Services instead. Here we can gather your request and prepare a quote for your design or logo.
Should you choose the Design for Me option, and your request is more complex than allowed, we will inform you of your options before starting your design. Typically these options will be to have us simplify your request to fall within the Design for Me limits, or provide you with a quote for the additional charges your design will require.