Avoiding Blurry Print Images: The Difference Between Raster & Vector Images

We often work with clients who are in the process of submitting their designs for print, only to find out that their artwork is saved as the wrong type of file for their project. If you are not a professional graphic designer, you may have never heard of vector art or raster art files and you certainly don’t know the difference between the two.  While there are several different types of images, we’re going to focus on the 2 major image types, vector and raster, and identify the best file type for your project.


Most everyone has heard of JPGs, GIFs, PNGs and TIF files .  These files all fall under the category of raster images and are often used on websites.  Raster images are made up of tons of tiny pixels, which means the image is not scalable and cannot be sized up or down without compromising the quality of the image.  So, for instance, if you wanted to take your logo that you used on your business card and resize it up to banner or billboard size using a raster file, the end result will be a blurry, jagged image unsuitable for printing.

Vector, the other major file type, are most often created using Adobe Illustrator and typically end with .ai or .eps.  These programs create files with points, lines and shapes to render a finished piece of art that is clean, camera ready and scalable for multiple different print jobs.  Therefore, any time you’re sending a file over that has hard-edged lines such as a logo, icon, drawing, etc. you need to make sure that it is a vector image in order to ensure the highest print quality.


The easiest way to tell whether your art is vectored is to resize the image in any design program.  If it becomes pixelated and blurry the larger you make the image, you do not have vectored artwork.  If you’re still not sure, open up your image using Adobe Illustrator.  If your art is vectored, you will see a series of lines and dots outlining your image.


Fear not, we are happy to check to see if your file is vector or raster at no cost. If it’s not vector, we are happy to covert your image for you.  Conversion generally costs between $25-$75, but can range a bit higher depending on the complexity of your artwork.  We will recreate or redraw the file in vector format, and you’ll be on your way to a perfectly crisp, professional print job in no time.  Or maybe you need help from scratch to create a logo for your business-Just give us a call at 410-727-1400 or shoot us an email at production@alphagrap.com to get started!