What Is Vector Artwork?

Vector art is created using vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These programs use mathematic equations (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, camera ready, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality. 

In the following graphic, we will show you the difference between Vector art and the other, more common type of computer graphic, raster artwork or "bitmaps":

You’ll notice how, in the Raster art file, the edges of the art become distorted when the picture is enlarged. You will see "pixels", the stepped edges seen in a raster file.  The vector file will remain clean and crisp no matter how large it is scaled up.

Is My Artwork Vector?

How can you tell if your art is Vector Art? One way is by the file type. Vector art is usually created in Adobe Illustrator, and is commonly saved with certain file extensions. The four most common Vector file extensions are .ai, .pdf, .eps and.svg.

However, just because a file is saved in one of these formats, does not mean that it is truly vector art. Sometimes, people open raster files in Adobe Illustrator, and re-save the file in one of the above mentioned formats, without converting or recreating the art using the vector editing tools. This creates a vector file extension that still contains bitmaps. Only art originally created in a vector editing program, such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, is truly vector art.

One way to know for sure if your file is truly a vector file is to open it in Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator, click on an object, and check to see if you see the following:

See the nodes and arrows surrounding the letter? Those are vector editing nodes. If you see those, congratulations you have vector art. If you zoom in and see pixels, you have raster artwork placed inside a vector file.


My Artwork Isn't Vector, What Now?

The file that you have might not be the only one out there. If you had a professional designer create your art, contact them, and ask for the vector files. If you work in a large company, contact your company’s marketing department, they may have copies of this file.

If they do not have vector files available ask for a 300dpi or larger file (actual print size if possible), we can take a look at it and tell you if we can use it for screen printing. Most of the time we can reprocess a 300dpi+ raster file to work great, but often times the quality is not at the level of truly vector artwork.  We are not responsible for the final print quality if low resolution (<300dpi ) artwork is submitted.

If all this fails we can re-draw your artwork. This will usually incur some extra charges, we will estimate this cost before we begin.