What is the Difference Between Raster & Vector Artwork?

Lauren P
Lauren P
  • Updated

We want every sticker to look perfect and to do that, we ask for artwork that is either a high resolution raster file or a vector image. If you aren’t sure what type of file your designs are, we can help! Let’s take a closer look at what makes raster and vector different.

What Are Raster Images?

Raster images are artwork files made of tiny dots or pixels of ink that make up the whole image, like a digital photograph. When you zoom in really close to these images, you can see a more grainy look, which are the individual pixels making up the image. Since they are made of pixels or dots, the size of raster images can only be increased or decreased a certain amount before they start to show the grainy look and become distorted.

To make sure your designs will look great at the size you want your stickers or labels to be printed, it’s best to set your dots per inch (dpi) to at least 300. This will give you the best print quality when you take your designs from digital to physical stickers.

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There are a couple of ways to tell if your artwork or graphic is raster based or not. The first way is to zoom in or enlarge your image significantly. If the edges look rough or the image appears grainy, then it is a raster based image. You can also look at the file extensions. Commonly seen file extensions on raster based artwork are JPEG, PSD, PNG, or TIFF. These usually indicate if your file is a raster image or not.

What Are Vector Files?

Vector art files are made of lines created using mathematical equations. This means the size of vector designs can be decreased or increased to any size and the designs will not become distorted or look grainy.

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If you are trying to figure if your artwork is a vector based file, here are a couple tips. First, if you enlarge your image significantly and the edges stay smooth, plus any text in the design keeps its crisp lines and spacing, chances are the artwork is vector based. You can also look at the file extensions and if you see EPS, AI, or SVG, then your artwork is very likely a vector based image.

We're happy to help with any artwork questions you may have! Find even more details here

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