Difference Between Raster & Vector Artwork

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, that’s ok. Let’s take a closer look at what makes raster and vector different.

What Are Raster Images?

When you see a digital photo, you are looking at a raster image. These types of artwork files are made of tiny dots or pixels of ink that make up the whole image. When you zoom in really close to these images, you can probably see the grainy look, which is really the individual pixels in the image. Since they are made of pixels or dots, the size of raster images can only be increased or decreased so much, 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 300, this will give you the best print quality when you take your designs from digital to stickers.

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 to the file extensions for some clues. Commonly seen file extensions on raster based artwork are; JPEG, PSD, PNG, or TIFF, and these usually indicate if your file is a raster image or not.

What Are Vector Files?

Two StickerGiant flame logos, one clear and the other is pixelated Two StickerGiant flame logos, one clear and the other is pixelated

Vector art files on the other hand 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 and look grainy.

If you are trying to figure if your artwork is a vector based file, there are a couple of things you can do. The first thing to look at is if you enlarge your image significantly, and the edges stay smooth, and any text in the design keeps its crisp lines and spacing, chances are your 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.