Frequently Asked Questions

What does ‘vector’ mean?

A vector image is made of points instead of pixels. What that means in layman’s terms is that a vector image can be blown up to a much larger size without being blurry. On the image below, the logo on the left is a raster image and the logo on the right is a vector image. See how the left image doesn’t stretch very well?

The reason for this is that the points join paths (think, connect the dots) whereas with pixels, there are only a finite amount. So it would be like the difference between trying to stretch a piece of denim versus a piece of elastic. You may also hear vector files referred to as AI files because vector artwork is typically created in Adobe Illustrator (that orange and black icon!).

What are the differences between file types?

The three most common file types for web-based images are .jpeg, .png, and .gif. Here’s a rundown of what makes each other them different.

JPEG – JPEG images are ideal for files with gradients and allow for a smaller file size through compression
PNG – PNG images are lossless, so they do not lose quality during editing, support transparency, and tend to be larger than jpegs
GIF – GIF images are able to maintain a low file size while being able to support animation

A few other common file types like .pdf, .psd, and .ai, refer moreso to the format of the file and/or where it was created.

PDF  – Incorporates all the elements of a printed document as an image that you can view, print, or send to someone else
PSD – Refers to a file created in Adobe Photoshop
AI – Refers to a file created in Adobe Illustrator

What in the world is PANTONE?

PANTONE Color Matching (aka PMS) is a standardized color matching system that allows a designer to accurately match a color across all forms of media. The reason this is important is because the red I see on my monitor might be vastly different from the red you see on your monitor depending on the settings. A PMS number tells the printer how much of each color to use when printing an image. So, if your color is PMS 187 (SAGE red), the printer would use a certain percentage of the CMYK colors every time so you know you’re getting the same color even if you are printing from different printers.

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