Shop Talk Blog

15 January 2019

SCREEN PRINT TIPS: VECTOR? RASTER? What is the difference? Featured

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Screen print graphics - Rastors and vectors Screen print graphics - Rastors and vectors

Find out the best format for your screen print.

Your screen printed promotional items need to make the best impact possible, and an important part of that is how your logo is represented on your printed apparel. When submitting your logo and other artwork for screen printing, you’ll often be asked to submit a “vector” file of your image. With all of the image options, software and file formats out there, it can be more than a little overwhelming to figure out which one is best for your next print project. Here’s a quick overview, to help you when printing and communicating your company’s branding needs:

Vector graphics (commonly appear in file formats SVG, AI, EPS) are best used to represent more structured images, like line art graphics with flat, uniform colours.

Raster graphics (more familiar file formats like PSD, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF) are based on a dot matrix structure, composed of a grid of tiny points of colour called pixels.

You can identify a raster or bitmap image by looking at it very closely. If you zoom in enough it becomes completely unrecognizable because raster graphics, or bitmaps are a dot matrix data structure that generally represent a rectangular grid of pixels. Almost all of the photos found on the web and in print are raster images. Raster images can contain significantly more detail and styling effects, but can be more difficult to print with certain processes – for example, spot colour screen printing.

Vector images, which are made of thin lines and curves created with mathematical formulas. Because of this, each image can be scaled, coloured and re-sized repeatedly and infinitely without losing resolution or quality. On the other hand, because vectors are created from simple shapes it means they cannot have certain special effects which are available with raster images. Most brands create their logos and illustrations and technical drawings as vector images. For the majority of logo screen prints, vector images are optimal.

DDI Screen Print Logo - Displayed in vector and raster



Starting with the right type of image can save you a lot of time and rework over the course of a project. Evaluate how you will be using your graphics and create your images accordingly. Use your knowledge of vectors and rasters to create, select, and print the best possible images for your screen printed t-shirt!


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