Artwork File Formats
When a client first gets in touch about our laser cutting, engraving or marking services, one of the first things we ask for is a vector file of their artwork (logo, text, images etc.) - this is quite often replied with "what's that?".
So we wanted to give some idea and explanation as to the type of file we use (just like printers, designers, marketers, developers etc.) so that it's easier to understand and we get the right type of file to make your project.
The two file formats store different types of information which can be used in a variety of ways using design software programmes, as explained below.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with us so that we can do our very best to help you.
Vector File Formats
A vector image is made up of points, lines and curves (or paths) that contain colours, gradients and other editable effects. It can easily be re-sized and scaled from a small business card to a huge billboard and can manipulated without loosing resolution.
A vector image can be identified by enlarging or zooming in on the image and it will always appear smooth. Text is very much a common type of vector image as it doesn't matter how much you increase the font size, it will look the same.
File sizes are very often smaller and are easy to transfer from one computer to another and over the internet.
Vector file formats are CDR, AI, DXF, DWG, EPS and SVG and are most commonly used in programs such as Illustrator, AutoCAD and CoralDraw.
Raster File Formats
A raster image (bitmap) is made up from tiny blocks (also known as pixels) of colour.
Because the image is formed using a fixed number of blocks, it cannot be re-sized and manipulated without loosing its resolution - meaning the image will not be smooth and it'll look "pixelated".
A raster image can be identified by zooming in on the file and you'll see the little individual squares.
File sizes are often quite big as there's a lot of information and problems can occur when transferring files.
Raster file formats are JPG (JPEG), GIF, PNG, TIF and are most commonly used in photographs.
PDF File Formats
This type of file can be either a vector or raster and will depend on how the design was originally created.
We accept pdf files as long as they were originally compiled as a vector.
Raster images saved as a pdf file will still show to be a raster when it's opened.
A great way to see whether your image is a vector or a raster, enlarge the image by zooming in and see how the image reacts.
If the image remains the same and has smooth edge it's a vector.
If the image is pixelated and looses resolution, it's a raster.