It’s time to update your brochure, rack card, flyer – insert any type of printed piece here – and your designer is asking for specific image files.
If design isn’t your world, words like high-resolution and vector art might sound more like new cocktails to order, instead of necessary images needed to create quality pieces.
It can be tempting to just pull images off of your website or Facebook page to use for your printed marketing materials. But, think about washing a new outfit for the first time and how afterwards, it never really looks the same. It loses some of its color and shape.
When an image is put on your website, it has to be optimized and compressed for online viewing. Just like that new outfit still looks great when you put it on, it never comes close to how it looked the FIRST time you wore it, pre-wash.
To make images load quickly, they need to be processed a certain way, and this strips out some of the data in the image file. While they look fine online, if you try to use them in print, they won’t look the same. Web images can be low-resolution (72 – 96 DPI, or Dots per Inch) while print images need to be high-resolution (a minimum of 300 DPI). Be sure to ask your photographer or those sharing images with you to provide high-resolution files.
Designer Tip: You don’t need Photoshop to find an image’s resolution. If you are on a Windows machine, simply right click on an image, select Properties, then click on the Details tab. For example, I have two versions of this photo I took for The Winner. The screen shot on the left shows the data for the high-resolution version, which can be printed at poster-size, while the screen shot on the right shows the data for the version that’s on the website.
Vector graphics aren’t made up of those pesky little pixels that photos have. You know what I’m talking about. You have an image, such as a JPEG, and you try to enlarge it, but you can’t do it without it looking distorted or grainy. Vector graphics are made up of paths, so in a nutshell, paths can expand, pixels can’t.
Whether it’s a business card or a billboard, having your file, like your logo for instance, in vector format, allows your designer to keep it small or grow it tall.
Another reason why vector is victor is because it supports transparency. Say your logo needs to appear on a colored background. Having the file in vector format allows your designer to place your logo easily in the piece, without an unsightly solid white box behind it.
So, how do you ensure you have vector art available when you need it? Request that your logo designer provide you with an .EPS file in the set of finalized ones they send to you. That set might also include JPEGs or PDFs. This is pretty standard, but if they don’t automatically send it, just ask. It’s also a good idea to have the native Adobe Illustrator file, as most creatives have access to software that can open .AI files.
If you have an existing logo, but find you are missing the vector file, your options are to go back to the designer that created it for you to get it, or have someone recreate it in a program like Adobe Illustrator. This can incur an extra fee, so try to get that file when the logo is first produced.
Your files are showing! Make sure they look their best.
If you’re ready to show off your beautiful imagery with a new printed marketing piece or just want to chat about design lingo, let’s talk!