Preparing your art for Print

Have you ever tried to print art on a t-shirt and been told your art was not in the correct format? Art vectoring is the most common way to prepare art for print. Whether you are trying to print a hand drawn scanned sketch, or even just a slogan on a t shirt or publication, you will probably need to have your art “vectored”

Vectoring is the process of re-creating your original art in such a way that the image can be completely separated, expanded, or shrunk without losing quality or becoming grainy. A Screen Printer will require you to vector your art in advance, will charge you an art fee to complete the vectoring themselves, Or alternately will vector the image free of charge but charge inflated print prices to cover the additional cost incurred.

Art Vectoring is a time consuming process. You should plan to either have your art vectored prior to submitting for print. Or alternately budget thirty to fifty dollars per design if you plan to have your print shop do the vectoring. A graphic artist should be able to accomplish vectoring for you during art creation. Be sure you save the original graphics file your artist provides!

If your not a graphic artist, chances are your not sure whether or not your graphic is a printable file or not. One way for a novice to tell whether or not their art file is in a printable format is by file extension. Examples of common low quality file extensions are .JPEG .GIF .PNG Examples of file extensions that may already be printable art are files ending in .PDF .AI or .PSD

The below two pictures illustrate an enlarged graphic prior to and after vectoring. As you can see the vectored image does not lose quality when expanded where as the non-vectored image becomes grainy. In most cases, to avoid a blurry grainy image printed on your garments vectoring is recommended.

1)        Non-Vectored  image


2)        Vectored file







3 thoughts on “Preparing your art for Print

  1. Great Article! Thanks for the info. If my artist provides me a layered photo shop file can you guys use this to print instead of the vector image?

    • Yes we can use the photoshop file instead. In some cases we can even use a jpeg if the resolution is high enough. If your unsure whether or not your image is in a printable format go ahead and give us a call or shoot us a chat from our home page. We will take a look for you and let you know whether or not we can use what you have.

  2. So…What is a vector image anyways? Why is a vector printable when other file extensions aren’t? What would a vector file extension look like?

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