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Screen Printing Design: Raster vs. Vector

One of the most common questions we receive when working with clients is: in which format should we send our art? This is a fundamental part of screen printing, as well as any print medium: we need to work with vector art. Vector (.AI, .EPS) is a type of art distinct from raster (JPG, GIF, PNG), which you see everywhere. Raster art is colloquially known as web art, as most images on websites are raster. Printers have a problem with raster art: it cannot be enlarged. Or rather, it loses its quality when it is enlarged. In the example below, you'll see what happens when we receive raster art. When it is enlarged, it loses its quality, and we are forced to re-create it. This is not only tough, but it can take a while! Enlarged vector art retains its quality and lines, and is neccesary for any print media, be it t-shirts, business cards, or concert posters (unless you don't care how it looks)!

Original Raster

Enlarged Raster

Enlarged Vector

Many customers only have access to raster art. They have a small JPG that they like, and would like to print it on a t-shirt. We can usually re-create these images, but complex or multi-colored images may be difficult to replicate exactly. That is why if at all possible, we prefer to have art submitted to us in vector format. The two most popular software programs form creating vector art are Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. Check them out if you're interested in learning more about creating vector art.
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