What is raster artwork and is that good for a t-shirt design?

Raster artwork is a type of compressed file format for images. It is the most common format because there are so many different file extensions that use this format. Some of the most common ones that you might be familiar with are jpegs, bitmaps, pngs, and gifs. These types of files are very useful in web design but not so functional when it comes to t-shirt printing.

The main reason they are not the preferred format for T-shirt printing is because of the lack of ability to resize them without losing quality. Also, unless the dots per inch is very high in the 300 to 600 range, the edges may come out jagged in the print. Raster artwork very much follows the rule junk in, junk out.

However, raster artwork isn't as evil as it sounds. T-shirt printing companies use these types of files all the time to send to customers or internally for reviewing. The reason that they are so popular for this function is that these types of files are very easy to share due to their compacted size and they can be opened on almost any computer. The opposite to raster artwork is vector artwork and these file formats can only be opened by computers with special programs that the original artwork was created in. Vector artwork is the preferred format because it can easily be resized over and over without any loss of quality or pixelation.

Raster artwork can be a great starting point to get a price quote or to share your concept with a t-shirt printer; however, when it comes time for actual production a vector file should be used instead. The good news is that most T-shirt printers will gladly convert your raster design into vector artwork and can usually do so without too much trouble. At You Design It we are always happy to do this for our customers and there is rarely any extra charge for this service. The bottom line is that even if you are uncertain about what type of file format your artwork is currently in, don’t worry about - just send it to us and we will be happy to help.

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