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Art Guidelines

Raster vs. Vector Art Explained

In the graphic design world, there are two categories of art files: raster and vector. Knowing the difference between the two is important when planning your printing. We want your stickers or labels to look perfect, so let’s talk through the basics.

What is a raster image? 

A rectangular grid of pixels creates a raster image. These pixels are the basic units of color on a computer display. The number of pixels depends on the size of the image. The larger the image or the higher the pixel count, the clearer the image will print. At Creekside, we recommend at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch) for all raster art files.

What is a vector image?

A vector image is composed of mathematical formulas that create shapes like lines and curves. These formulas establish points on a grid, and you can scale them infinitely without losing print quality. At Creekside, we prefer vector art files for printing. This file type results in the best print quality.


How do I know if my file is raster or vector?

The easiest way to tell if your art is raster or vector is by the file extension. *Please note that PDF files can be both raster and vector. For these files, you can zoom in very closely to determine the art type. If you zoom in closely and can do so without pixelation (see raster example above) then it is a most likely vector. If the image pixelates, you have a raster image. Below is a list of all file types specific to each format to help you decipher the art type.

Raster File Types Accepted

  • JPG

  • PNG

  • PSD

  • TIFF

  • GIF

  • *PDF

Vector File Types Accepted

  • SVG

  • AI

  • *PDF

If you find that you are still questioning the type of file you have and whether it will print correctly, the support squad is here to help. Simply use our Contact Us form to send us information about your project and the file in question. We will be happy to review your file to determine if it’s suitable for printing! 

Color Information

Include all PMS/Pantone Plus numbers or CMYK %. Files submitted in RGB will be printed in CMYK color mode. If specific colors are not requested, Creekside will choose the closest match. 

*Using Pantone/PMS colors is recommended but an exact match cannot be guaranteed. Colors on PDF and on computer screens may differ from actual printed colors. To ensure accurate color matching please provide a sample color.*

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