The Best Art Is Vector Art
Vector Files are made of lines, points, and curves that can be resized without any loss of image quality and are easily altered. Common software packages that create vectors are Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW, and common file types are .AI, .CDR, and .EPS. Unless you have a graphics program, you would not be able to open a vector file. Vector files will work for all embroidery, t-shirt or promotional products that you do.
Raster Files are made of pixels, or individual dots of color, and can't be altered very easily. These files lose quality when upscaled, so they must look clean and crisp at the physical size of your finished print. The most common software used to create raster files is Adobe Photoshop, and any type of digital camera. Common file types are .PSD, .BMP, .TIFF, .JPG, .PNG, and .GIF, but the latter three types found on the internet lose color and clarity to save bandwidth and thus are rarely of high enough quality to do much with. Raster files will work for most embroidery, and some t-shirt or promotional products that you do.
Embroidery Files are only used to drive embroidery machines; they give machines the coordinates and sequence of each stitch in a design and prompt when to change colors. Common file types are .DST, .EXP, and .PES, but the latter is a home embroidery file type and may not be usable for commercial embroidery. It is rare that a customer would have an embroidery file, and, unless you have an embroidery software program, you would not be able to open an embroidery file. For custom designs, there is a one-time fee associated with making the embroidery file.
What if you do not have the right type of file? We can help you. We do almost all embroidery files from scratch, so we can work with what art you have. T-shirt printing often requires modifications to art, but we can do that as a part of the process. Almost all promotional products require vector art. If you do not have it, we can redraw it into vector art for a one-time reasonable fee, and then, will have it for anything else you do in the future.