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Submitting vector graphics – how does it work? 

Some of our products require PDF documents that include vector graphics. Vector graphics are based on lines and geometric shapes that can be engraved by a laser, for example. 

Most images, graphics etc., however, are based on bitmaps or pixels. Such graphics cannot be printed with the marked products! As already mentioned, this affects only a small selection of our products, especially promotional items such as ball pens or lighters.

 

In the next sections, we will give you some background information and tips how to convert existing JPEG or TIF images to vector graphics.

How do I recognize a vector graphic?

The easiest way to recognize vector graphics is through the file extension. Typical file formats are EPS or AI but also older formats such as SVG and WMF which we do not support.

File formats such as JPG, GIF, PNG or TIFF cannot include vectors and therefore need to be converted before being used in an artwork file (usually a PDF).

Ideally, you already have a vector source file. Many logos, for example, are originally created as a vector drawing by designers. If you have such a file, please embed it into your artwork

Okay, so all I have to do is convert my JPGs to vector graphics?

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as that. If you want to vectorize pixel-based images, an algorithm will attempt to convert the objects in your pixel graphic to vector paths. This produces varying results. Although, it is basically possible to vectorize all pixel graphics, not all results will be suitable for laser engraving, pad and screen printing. 

But how can you get a vector file if you only have pixel data? Basically, there are three options to achieve this:

  1. Vectorisation using an online tool 
  2. Manual redrawing using offline programs 
  3. Hiring an agency specialised in vectorising

The easiest way is to try an online tool first. 

We liked the free "Vectorization.org" service in our tests. But remember: You can only use online vectorisation tools for laser engravings and monochrome pad and screen prints.

What's the "worst" that can happen?

Below you see some examples that demonstrate which pixel graphics are not suitable for vectorizing or to a limited extend only. Under the images we have added possible solutions if available.

Example 1

Pixel graphic

Vectorized pixel graphic

The lines are too thin and disappear partially when vectorized. Try a higher pixel graphic resolution or redraw the image using a vector-based program (such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape). 

Example 2

Pixel graphic

Vectorized pixel graphic

The resolution of the pixel graphic is too low. As a result, the vectors appear blurred. Use a high-resolution pixel graphic or create a vector-based graphic using a vector-based program (such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape).

Example 3

Pixel graphic

Vectorized pixel graphic

The contrast is insufficient; the light areas in the picture are not recognized. Darken the bright spots using Photoshop, Illustrator or Inkscape and try again.

Offline tools and agencies

If the online vectoriser does not deliver the desired result, you can try to redraw pixel graphics in vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Alternatively, you can hire a professional design agency to do the vectorisation. This is a worthwhile investment particularly in case of bicoloured images or frequently needed graphics such as logos. Prices start at around EUR 50 for simple graphics.


Design printings online

Our Online Design Tool is available for some products or will soon. Just visit our "Design online" site from time to time.