For Layout (grid board files and similar)
In the absence of a vector layout we may use Excel, PowerPoint, Word or even a hand drawn images.
The important thing with these files is that there is a drawing to scale (preferred) and/or a good description of what is wanted.
Best File Options:
For Graphics, Images, Logos etc.
- Vector files
- .ai (adobe illustrator)
*Usually Acceptable / Non vector
- .jpg (High Resolution)
- .tif (High Resolution)
Important if these files contain any logos/graphics they should be sent in a separate file. (See above.)
For Floor Plans, Schematics and Maps.
- Vector files (see above)
- .dwg (Cad files )
- Hand drawn
Floor plans, schematics and maps are some of the most difficult and time consuming types of files to reproduce additional charges will be applied when unacceptable file formats of this type need to be reproduced.
PDF Special note
PDFs can be a perfectly acceptable file format to work from; they can also be lousy. PDFs are files that are supposed to be universal so that anyone can open them. PDFs can be created from a large variety of files from high power graphic programs to scans of photocopies of hand-drawn sketches that were faxed back and forth several times. So, all PDFs are not created equally, garbage in, garbage out if you will. If a file is unacceptable, you can't just print it out, scan it and save it as a .pdf.
So... PDFs may be used and can be great but we need to understand that they are not all the same, consider their source; if they were created from an acceptable file format then they are probably good. If they were created from an unacceptable file format, they are probably bad.
Vector vs. Raster
A vector image is completely scalable; To do this the files use mathematical formulas to draw points and shapes in relation to one another other so if the image is enlarged (or shrunk down) it produces a clean crisp image.
A raster image is created pixel by pixel, and is typically created in the size that it is intended to be used in. Picture a pixel as a tiny block that your eye doesn't perceive, they all blend together to create a good image (at their intended size) When you scale these images up, these "blocks" scale up with it to the point that your eyes can perceive them. So instead of looking smooth, they look like they were created with blocks, this is referred to as pixilation. Conversely, if a raster image is scaled down, the program is forced to guess which of these "blocks" isn't important and images will tend to look jagged funny in some way.
See image to the right for an illustration of the differences of a vector file vs a raster file being up-scaled.