Have you ever tried to scale up a nice sharp web graphic to print—only to have it come out utterly-pixelated to the point of looking like a LEGO-version of your original masterpiece?
Most image files we use on the web – namely JPGs and PNGs – often will fall victim to this struggle.
Why do JPGs and PNGs not scale up to print well?
Well, for the sake of saving space and maintaining high load speeds, websites use these raster type images – a simple grid of pixels with numeric color values – for optimal display efficiency at a fixed size. This makes sense for the purpose of loading pre-designed web pages quickly.
But when you want to blow that graphic up to 24” or even 24’ – you need a different approach.
The need for scalability with full fidelity is where vector files come into play.
Rather than making an image with a grid of pre-colored pixels, vector files use relative coordinates and algorithms to reconstruct all points, lines, curves, and color fields of the graphic, pixel-perfect to their given proportions, for any adjusted size.
Because of this distinctive difference, vector files such as .svg, .ai, .eps, and most .pdf files tend to be larger than most web files, but can then be scaled infinitely large or small with perfect fidelity—every line and shade looking just as crisp whether it’s plastered 40’ high on the side of a building or printed sharply onto a 4” coaster.
To create a vector file, typically a professional design program is needed.
The most well-known program to use for this is Adobe Illustrator, but online tools like Canva (Pro) can save .svg and vector .pdf files, and are quickly gaining popularity too.
Contact Hierank more help with this topic or any upcoming print project.