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Graphic Design Lingo: Understanding File Formats

At MOBO, we want to ensure that you receive the highest quality promotional products available in Saskatoon and across Canada! That’s why we work closely with you to create the artwork for your products, and try to make the process as simple as possible. However, we understand that, to our customers, it can sometimes sound like we’re speaking a foreign language — especially when discussing image file formats. So we created this guide to help.

There are two types of digital artwork files our team works with: vector-based files and bitmap files (image/scanned files).

What Are Vector Files?

In order to imprint, laser engrave or screen print your logo onto promotional products, a vector-based artwork file is required. These files are put together by a graphic artist with the aid of graphic design software. Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw are the most popular graphic design software. These programs formulate the artwork using an algebraic formula that enables the artwork to be enlarged or minimized without compromising the image’s clarity.

This artwork can also be manipulated and edited. It is the preferred artwork to work with and, in many cases, the only artwork that will be accepted for application to products, such as decals, mugs, calculators and other non-porous materials. They also email rapidly, as they do not require a lot of digital space. The title extensions for these files include .eps, .ai and .cdr.

What Are Bitmap Files (Image/Scanned Files)?

Bitmap files will provide an idea of what the logo looks like, but cannot be edited or manipulated. They cannot be re-sized without sacrificing the image’s clarity. These are acceptable files for embroidery program digitizing only. These files usually take up a lot of digital space and take a long time to email. The file extensions can include .jpeg, .tiff and .bmp. Examples of artwork that is bitmap/scanned are photographs, letterhead, photocopies and business cards.

If a re-drawing of a bitmap file is required or new artwork creation, a quotation of charges will be provided to you. If we prepare the artwork for you, you will be provided with a copy on disc, if required. Three formats can be provided: Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator and a high resolution bitmap.

Remember, the quality of the image we produce is based on the quality of the image we receive, unless we redraw it. If you have any questions about file formats or other art-related terms, please don’t hesitate to ask the team at MOBO. We’ll be more that happy to provide you with guidance.