What is a vector logo or vector image?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email

One of the most common questions we get asked: “What is a vector image?” and “Why do I need to supply my logo in vector format?”

It’s quite difficult to explain what a vector logo or vector artwork is but it’s really important in the branded clothing & promotional products industry…

Vector artwork is required for most types of printing that we offer – anything from vinyl printed t-shirts to screen printed hoodies as well as promotional items such as branded travel mugs, pens and notebooks.

Bitmap Vs Vector

The chances are that your logo will be a jpeg, jpg or png file.  This is a format that in simple terms is made up of lots of little pixels or square dots (see image on the right).  If you zoom into the image far enough you will see that each colour will be a tiny square pixel or dot that make up the logo (think about what it looks like when you zoom right into a photograph).  When you zoom out far enough you cannot see the pixels and the logo looks fine on a website but for branded clothing this is very important.

When it comes to ordering printed t-shirts with your logo we will need to take your artwork and, depending on the method of printing, either create a screen/stencil to screen print or a cut line in order to cut out the vinyl for your logo.  If we were to zoom right in and ‘trace’ around your logo it would look quite jagged due to all the pixels.

With a vector file the logo is made up of a set of instructions…. do you remember the old kids TV show Knightmare? A contestant would wear a helmet so they couldn’t see and their team mates would need to guide them through a number of challenges and obstacles:

A vector file is very much like this – instead of ‘painting’ your logo it is created by a set of instructions.  For instance, to draw a square the instructions might say:

  • start at point A
  • draw a line that is 5cm long
  • Turn 90 degrees right and draw another line that is 5cm long
  • Turn 90 degrees right and draw another line that is 5cm long
  • Turn 90 degrees right and draw another line that is 5cm long
  • We’ve now instructed to draw a square
  • Fill the square with blue pantone reference PMS287
  • Add a 2mm border in Black

In creating a file this way it means you can scale the artwork to any size, even the size of a skyscraper and all it does is scale up the measurements… taking the above example:

  • start at point A
  • draw a line that is 10 metres long
  • Turn 90 degrees right and draw another line that is 10 metres long
  • Turn 90 degrees right and draw another line that is 10 metres long
  • Turn 90 degrees right and draw another line that is 10 metres long
  • Our square is now 10 metres wide without losing any definition
  • Fill the square with blue pantone reference PMS287
  • Add a 20mm border in Black

This would then follow the commands and create a perfect square.  If we were to scale up a bitmap image we would just ‘stretch’ the pixels which would result in a very blurry larger image.

If we take a look at the 2 examples below with the SP Workwear logo you can see the difference between a bitmap logo and a vector logo.

You can see that a vector image gives a perfect, crisp and sharp finish – this allows us to create cut lines for vinyl in precise detail and create screens/stencils for screen printing and promotional items.

A vector file also creates ‘layers’ so you can separate the colours.  When screen printing, each colour needs a different stencil or screen.  With a vector file we can separate the colours into layers making it possible to create these screens.  With a bitmap image the logo is one flat layer so there is no way to separate colours or ‘objects’ making it impossible to work with.

Vector Logo File Formats

Most vector logos are either in .EPS or .PDF format.  However there are still a number of issues that can arise when supplying these files.

You cannot simply take a jpeg or png file, resave it as an EPS or PDF file and it suddenly becomes a vector file.  This means that we sometimes get sent EPS/PDF files from customers but when we open them the artwork is still in bitmap format.  Sadly there is no way to automatically convert a jpeg into a vector.  This is usually done by a graphic designer or very clever tracing software (and that can often get the conversion wrong).

We can help with converting your logo into the correct format depending on the type of clothing you are ordering.  In some instances a vector file isn’t needed.  Take embroidery – we can work from a simple jpeg for embroidery files as our setup charge involves someone redrawing the logo into a format that an embroidery machine can understand.  It takes into account all the shapes, fonts and colours but also the number of stitches needed to create the design and any underlying/backing stitches to make the design nice and stable on the garments they are being embroidered onto.

To discuss your logo or next branded clothing project give us a call on 01628 308810.  We can advise whether your logo files are in the correct format and if they’re not we can help you get exactly what is needed.

0/5 (0 Reviews)

More to explore

Close Menu
Save & Share Basket
Your Shopping Basket will be saved and you'll be given a link. You, or anyone with the link, can use it to retrieve your Basket at any time. Please note that baskets will be deleted after 21 days.
Back Save & Share Basket
Your Shopping Basket will be saved with Product pictures and information, and Basket Totals. Then send it to yourself, or a friend, with a link to retrieve it at any time.
Your cart email sent successfully :)

×

Basket