#TuesdayTips: Understanding Digital Images


Every industry has its own jargon; businessmen can rattle off countless acronyms while doctors seem to be speaking only in Latin. Usually you're okay to keep to your own industry's lingo, but there is some new terminology you'll need to learn when you're ordering signage. 

Vector, raster, resolution, DPI, JPEG, bitmap – these are all industry terms that refer to the type and quality of an image, and while they may be meaningless to your ears, they’re certainly not meaningless to your marketing. 
DPI or PPI means dots per inch and pixels per inch, respectively. These refer to the resolution of the photo, i.e. how clear and sharp it is. The higher DPI or PPI, the higher the resolution, meaning a sharper, higher quality, image. 
JPEGs, TIFFs, GIFs and bitmaps are all raster image types composed of pixels. Image quality declines if the image is enlarged. Photographs will be composed of pixels, so be sure to send us high-resolution photos taken with good light. 
Vector images are different. They are composed of points and lines and are actually mathematical equations; they are not composed of pixels. This structure allows them to be easily resized or re-colored without any change in the quality of the image. Logos, illustrations and design elements will work best as vectors. Common file formats include Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, PDF and EPS.
Here are examples of the different files:
Unsure about what type of files you have? Send us what you have on file, and one of our designers will review it and get back to you. If you need a vector file for your signage, but you only have a raster image right now, we can get you a quote on having your logo vectored.