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