Artwork Requirements

If you’re in the promotional products/corporate branding market you probably already know a thing or two about the different types of art files needed for decoration.  But, in case you need a brush up, we’re going to go through the different types of art files and when you will need them.

Vector? Raster? DST? — Does it really matter?

Vector

Based on mathematical formulas, vector files can be enlarged as much as you want and they will still as crisp as ever.  You can also change their colors, edit their shapes, and any other edits you would want.  This is by and large the most preferred format for artwork. 

Used for:  Virtual Proofs, Laser Etch, Heat Seal, Dye Sublimation, Screen Printing

Raster

Raster images are made up of tiny electronic dots called pixels, much like a printed photograph is made up of tiny dots of ink on paper.  This type of file is great if you want to produce a full color image, but it has limited uses for apparel decoration.  This would be the preferred format if you wanted to decorate a shirt using dye sublimation with an image of a beautiful mountain outlook (or any type of subject).  However, quality can be an issue with this type of file (it cannot be enlarged very much without loss of quality), the image will start to appear blurry, and you’ll start seeing ‘boxes’ of color throughout the image.  Using high-resolution files that are at the correct size already will give you the best results.

Used for:  Full Color Heat Seal, Dye Sublimation

DST

DST files are used for embroidery only.  They cannot be used to create virtual mockups, or for any other type of decoration.  However, you can use pretty much any type of file when you are getting your DST file created (digitized).

Used for:  Embroidery