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Image Selection: What’s the .Gif-ference?

by Michael Grunseth

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High Resolution Vs. Low-Res Images

I am firmly putting on my Sales/Service Representative hat to work through a series of questions I get asked about using your own artwork in a design. What files work best? How do I upload my files? How do I make sure it prints the way I want it to?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about cool things that you can do with a photo, but before we get to that point, we need to start with selecting and uploading your images. I’m going to piece together the process for you, with some quick tips and insights along the way. I’ll start today’s post with a reminder than you can call our sales reps at any time and they can help you through any step, or do it for you.

Let’s begin! *gong*

What Extension Works Best?

The first step to uploading your own image is choosing which image works best. Today let’s focus on file types. There are two different types of graphic files: raster and vector (our lab accepts both).

Vector files are usually made in art programs like Adobe Illustrator (they end in .ai or .eps), and people who have these sort of files usually have a leg up on graphics programs (so I’m saving vector files for another day).

Raster graphic files have extensions like .jpeg, .bmp, and .gif (now the title makes sense, eh?). They are the image types that you usually deal with, that you have in your personal library on your computers.

Here is a list of quick tips when working with raster images:

1.   When getting images off of the web, make sure that you are getting the largest version of the image. Sometimes a source will have multiple image sizes,  the biggest will always work best.

2.   Online photo albums and other social networking sites shrink images down so they take up less space on their servers. If you have an image in mind, get the original source image. It’s going to work much better since it has a higher resolution.

SPECIAL TIP: When you find an image that you think will work, see how big it is at 100%. Usually an image that is at least the size of your monitor (with no blurriness) will work!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line with raster images is that we can definitely work with them, but you need to be careful that the image you have is high resolution. For orders of 6 or more, we can redraw these images for you as a graphic, but if you’re looking to maintain a photographic look, resolution is key.

Hang in there for the next entry about how to select colors for your image (and what that means)!

I’d love to answer any other questions about raster images, so please comment below and I’ll get back to you!

About the Author - Michael Grunseth


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