"That's not our type..."
Here at GNP we have a type... her name is PDF. 😍 Let us explain why...
First things first, let us explain the differences between vector and raster. (Who? It's ok... hang in there, you'll get it!)
Vector vs. Raster
Raster Image Files
Raster images are constructed by a series of pixels, or individual blocks, to form an image. JPEG, GIF, and PNG are all raster image extensions.
Every photograph you find online or in print is a raster image. Pixels have a defined proportion based on their resolution (high or low), and when the pixels are stretched to fill space they were not originally intended to fit, they become distorted, resulting in blurry or unclear images. That equals BAD FOR PRINTING! (Here at GNP we have a word for that... "jpegittiness" and it's a dirty, bad word.)
But if you insist... In order to retain pixel quality, you cannot resize raster images without compromising their resolution (image quality). As a result, it is important to remember to save raster files at the exact dimensions needed for the application. If your print will be 8.5" x 11" your file needs to be that size too. But DPI matters too! (We'll get into that later.)
Vector Image FilesVector images are far more flexible. They are constructed using proportional formulas (shapes) rather than pixels. EPS, AI and PDF 😍 are perfect for creating graphics that require frequent resizing. Your logo and brand graphics should have been created as a vector, and you should always have a master file on hand. The real beauty of vectors lies in their ability to be sized as small as a postage stamp, or large enough to fit on an 18-wheeler!
Ok...now let us explain Resolution.
High Resolution vs. Low Resolution
Have you heard your designer, or maybe us, talk about DPI or PPI? DPI stands for "dots per inch" and PPI translates to "pixels per inch." These units of measure are essential for determining if the density of pixels in an image is appropriate for the application you are using.
The biggest thing to note when determining what DPI or PPI you require is if you are using an image for print or web. Websites display images at 72dpi, which is low resolution; however images at this resolution look really crisp on the web. This is not the case for print. Best practices for printing an image will require it to be no less than 300dpi.
Don't try to trick the system. A lot of magic can happen in Photoshop, but creating pixels out of thin air isn't one of them. Pulling an image off of the web and trying to get it to fit the dimensions of your print project just won't work. You will end up with a pixelated image that appears stretched and distorted. (Jpegitty 🙊) This breaks our hearts every time. Don't break our hearts! 💔
Now for what you've all been reading for...
❤️ PDF ❤️
Here is why we prefer PDF files...PDFs were invented by Adobe with the goal of capturing and reviewing rich information from any application, on any computer, with anyone, anywhere. We'd say they've been pretty successful so far.
If a designer saves your vector logo in PDF format, you can view it without any design editing software (as long as you have downloaded the free Acrobat Reader software, and sometimes within your email interface itself), and they have the ability to use this file to make further manipulations. This is by far the best universal tool for sharing graphics. It's also the final file format that we use to print, so anything you send us will eventually be converted to a PDF anyway, whether it has raster images or yucky "jpegettiness" in it or not.
If you ever have any questions about file types before you design, give us a call we can help! Please... let us help.