What Is Vector Art?

Posted by Craig Davidiuk on 8/13/18 10:57 AM

Vector art is the preferred graphics file format in the printing and promotional products industry.  It's typically created with a vector art program like Adobe Illustrator.  Vector files are different that JPGs or PNGs because the file is not pixel based. The files use mathematical formulas that allow you to edit all aspects of the design and scale your art to any size. Whenever you try and edit a bitmap file (ie- JPG) you degrade the image quality and can't increase the image size without degradation. 


Professional designers prefer this type of program because it gives them a lot of control. The art programs are typically expensive and difficult to learn. For this reason most companies and non-profits are never given the original files that creators used because they can't open it in their office environment. For this reason we offer art services free of charge because we usually have to re-draw JPGs or PNGs submitted to us. 


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What is A Vector Art File?

The technical answer: vector art programs create graphics that can be edited and scaled to any size. The main program we see on the market generating these files is Adobe Illustrator. This program creates crisp, clean vector files and it's used primarily by the print and graphic design industry.  If you don't have Adobe and want to try your hand at creating your own vector file, you can view a list of popular alternatives to Adobe here.


When customers and enamel pin designers arrive at our door with a logo, one of three scenarios happens: 


1) "I have a JPG. That's it". 

JPG's are a file format designed for use on websites. The file is highly compressed and quite "lossy" in some cases.  If you have every worked with a graphic designer or printer, they will probably have a vector versioni (Ie- AI, PDF, EPS (from Illustrator, not Photoshop)


2) "How do I convert my logo to vector art?"

Several online converters exist. They do a terrible job. A vector file needs to start in a vector based art program.  Let us do the conversion free of charge. 


3)" I work at XYZ University. Here is my JPG."

 Take the time to track down your companies graphic standards manual and find us a proper version.  Using poor quality versions of the logo will get us both into trouble. LOL. 


And for those of you that want to send us Powerpoint or Microsoft word, please be advised that these files are not useful for our purposes. Those programs are for letterhead and slide shows, not art.  We'll end up taking a grotty screen shot and then trying to re-draw a terrible version of your logo. Just find us a large JPG.  As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out!


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Tags: Understanding The Industry, Video


About The Author


Craig Davidiuk has been in the promotional products his entire life. His family owned and operated a pin factory until 2002 and he eventually took over the company in 2012. He also has a diploma in Media Resources from Capilano University. Today his company is one of the leading suppliers of custom pins, medals and swag in Western Canada.

He is a father of one son with his wife, Courtney. Craig enjoys skiing, mountain biking, DJing, playing saxophone and world travel.  The Davidiuk family resides in 100 Mile House, BC. 


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