Your Sign Guy: I need a vector file of your company logo to cut vinyl letters with.
You: I sent a jpeg file of our company logo, why will this not work?
Short answer? Because it is an image file, it’s a picture, what you need is vector artwork.
Let me help. Below is the definition of both types of files with pictures to help explain.
What’s the difference? They both look the same to me!
A vector file is drawn or created in a program such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW and commonly referred to as a .ai file.
An image file is either scanned into the computer, or created in a program such as Adobe Photoshop and saved as a .jpg or .png file.
Image files are also usually pictures, but can also be a logo created in Illustrator (vector) and then saved as a .jpg file (image) format.
The sign shop will open your artwork and view it in “Outline” or “Artwork” mode.
If it is a vector file made with a vector software program like Illustrator, it is a “cut-ready” file, ready to use on a plotter to cut vinyl letters, the knife blade of the plotter cuts on the line of the artwork created with vector software programs.
The image file… it can only be printed.
If you have vector artwork measuring 5″ and need it to be enlarged to print a 30″ sign, the vector art can be enlarged with no loss of quality.
You cannot enlarge an image file, it is “fixed,” you can reduce the image, but you cannot enlarge the image without loss of quality.
Another Example – Vector art vs an Image file.
What’s the difference? They both look the same to me.
The sign shop opens your art and views it in “Outline” or “Artwork” mode.
As you can see, the vector file, when enlarged, maintains its high quality,
but if you tried to enlarge the image file the quality will only get worse.
Files viewed in artwork (outline) mode, vector on the left and an image file on the right.