What Art Files Do You Need?
We’ll admit it! This is a bit of a dry topic. Because of this, we’ve made sure to stress the most important details at the top, with a longer explanation below for those who want to know the nitty gritty!
THE SHORT VERSION
Although not preferred, we can also work with bitmap files. Remember, it is key to have these files be at their highest resolution (ideally 300DPI), with as little compression, for the best possible production result.
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THE LONG VERSION
There are two main types of image files: vectors and bitmaps. Vector art is defined by mathematical points, rather than a bitmap graphic, which is a large grid of pixels. In vector art, each of the points and the way they relate to each other define the lines and shape of graphic elements. Other data points include colours, gradients, type, and effects. A key feature of vector files that make them so valuable for printing is that they are infinitely scalable, unlike bitmap files. Vector art is also typically a much smaller file size, as bitmap files have to store data for each individual picture, while vector files only need to store points that define objects.
The most problematic files are bitmap files that are either low resolution, or highly compressed. They require more work to prep them, and sometimes the files have to be replaced entirely.
PRO TIPS FOR VECTOR FILES
When working in vector format, the fonts you use are from your own computer and therefore won’t automatically send with the file. This can be a problem if we don’t happen to have the same font. The default state of text is ‘live’ which means editable. If you need to keep your fonts “live” in the file for some reason, you will need to send your printer the font file along with the vector file. If you are done editing the text, you can avoid this problem by creating an outline of your type. In illustrator, select all your type, and under the “Type” menu, select “create outlines”. This will convert all of your fonts into text shapes, ready for printing!
PLACED VS. LINKED FILES