Vector File Format, please!

As we noted in a previous post, all great labels start with great design.  But besides great creative design, the next most important thing is digital file format.  File format is the package or language that your amazing design is sent to the printer. In many cases, a designer can save your label design file in many different formats.  In order to get the best possible printed labels, we must have Vector File Format.

Vector File Format

What is the Difference?

This image from Vector Magic shows the major difference between raster (bitmap) and vector file format.  Basically, a bitmap file format is like a digital photo – it is a grid with a certain number of dots per inch (DPI) in each direction.  Once that image is sized, it can’t be changed without hurting the quality.  Especially when trying to enlarge an image, the stretched image will never look right.  Depending on the specific file, it can look jagged, distorted, or just generally fuzzy.

With VECTOR FILE FORMAT, rather than a grid of dots, the file has specific instructions:

      • Start 1/4″ from the left edge
      • Draw a circle
      • 2″ below the circle, draw a box
      • etc.

These instructions are not specific to an output size – they can be resized, stretched, or changed without losing print quality.

What do I need to know?

The most important thing to know about Vector File Format, is that you have to specificially ask your designer for this file.  Vector Files are also known as Adobe Illustrator (AI) files, or PDF files, or EPS files.  Any of these are basically interchangable.  The specific names are based on the software used to create the files, but in the end they are interchangable to us for printing high quality labels.

Besides sending files in Vector File Format, the next most important thing is to supply all the component parts. If your design includes specialized fonts, placed images, or logos, please include those and send them as separate files along with your main design file.

Confused? We Can Help – Call us Today!

We do our best to provide tools and tips for our customers that want to be deeply involved in the process.  But, we realize that for many people, labels are just a necessary evil – or something handled by another person in your organization. That is fine.  We are happy to train you as much or as little as you would like.  We are happy to chat directly with your graphic designer if that is more useful.  Regardless of the situation, we can help.  Please call us today.