What is a vector image and why do I need it for screen printing and laser engraving?

When you’re working on a custom screen printing or laser engraving project with one of our customer service representatives and you want to put your logo on the product, they will likely ask you for a vector version of your logo. If you have no clue what that means, you’re in the right place.

There are two different types of image files: vector and raster. A vector art file is typically created in a program such as Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand. You can import a raster image into one of these programs, but that does not make it a vector image. To have a vector image, the image or logo would have to be manually created in one of these programs. Raster images use pixels that are saved as an ordered series of numbers in the image. They create several very small dots of color that create what you see as your image or your logo when you are zoomed out on a computer screen. On the other hand, vector art is saved as lines and curves with the coordinates of their starting and ending points.

Picture of someone screening a shirt


The reason that we require vector artwork is so that your images and logos can be resized for screen printing or laser engraving without affecting the quality of the image. It creates a sharp, clean print and allows us to uphold our quality guarantee for all of our products. With raster art, when it is enlarged or you zoom in on the image, the quality decreases significantly and appears pixelated.

If you create your image in Adobe Illustrator, we’d like for you to choose “Create Outlines” on all of your text in the image. Having your text in outlines allows us to open the file without us needing to have all of the fonts you use in your image. If you send us your image and it’s not in outlines, your image will open up with different fonts than you originally used.

If you do not have access to a vector version of your logo and cannot find a way to get one, please just let us know. We have a full graphics department in house that has the ability to vector your logo for your orders and to help you with making edits to your designs or logos.

Our preferred vector formats:

  • .ai (Adobe Illustrator graphics)
  • .eps (Encapsulated PostScript)
  • .pdf (Portable Document Format)

* Please note that not all .pdf images are vector images. For a quick test to tell if your .pdf image is vector, if you zoom in at 400% or greater and the image begins to look grainy or pixelated, your image is raster instead of vector

File types that are definitely not vectorized: PSD, TIFF, JPG, and PNG

Need More Information consider visiting our Artwork File Formations page.

WordPress Lightbox Plugin