PREPARING FILES

At Signs of San Antonio we work with all kinds of different file types.  Each digital file has its own characteristics and limitations and that determines how we’re able to reproduce your art as a sign or print. Here’s what you need to know:

First, there are two types of digital graphics files – vector and raster.

Vector:

  • Vector art is made of lines called curves. These curves allow the image to be cut as vinyl.
  • Vector art is scalable, meaning it can be enlarged infinitely without losing any quality.
  • Vector art can be saved/exported to raster format, but not the other way around. For example: opening a .jpg file and saving as an .eps file will not convert it to vector.  Because of this, professional designers will create logos in vector format, and then save the file to other formats as needed.
  • Vector art is typically created using programs like Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. Unless we’re printing a photograph, it’s almost always preferable to send us a vector file.
  • But before sending us a vector file, make sure to (have your designer):
    • Convert all fonts to curves/outlines
    • Flatten the image.

Raster:

  • Raster images are often referred to as pixel-based because they are made of millions of tiny squares, called pixels.
  • Pixel-based images cannot be enlarged beyond their native size without becoming blurry (pixelating).
  • Pixel-based images cannot be cut as vinyl (learn more about printing vs. vinyl here)
  • For some artwork, we are able to “digitize” (i.e. convert from raster to vector)
  • Pixel-based files include things like photographs (.jpg/.tiff) and website files (.gif/.png)
  • If you’re submitting a photograph or raster file, then send us the highest possible resolution of the file.

When submitting your file(s), be aware of their size.  Files under 10MB can generally be sent through email without issue.  For larger files, contact us and we’ll get your set-up with our Dropbox account.

File Types

Pixel-based (raster)

Vector-based

Extension

Name

Extension

Name

.gif

Graphics Interchange Format

.eps*

Encapsulated PostScript

.jpeg/.jpg

Joint Photographic Expert Group

.ai

Adobe Illustrator

.png

Portable Network Graphics

.pdf*

Portable Document Format

.psd

Photoshop Document

.cdr

Corel Draw

.tiff/.tif

Tagged Image File Format

.bmp

Bitmap Image

*can also be pixel-based