Like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, salt and pepper, or bangers and mash, raster and vector engraving are the perfect pairing, complementing one another with a beautiful fusion of engraving techniques.

What are raster and vector engraving?

Raster and vector engraving are both types of laser engraving that use graphics files.

A raster is a type of bitmap file made up of a fixed number of pixels. They can’t be significantly resized without losing their quality and resolution but give an excellent, bold result if they are produced to the right size.

When we do a raster engraving, the precision laser moves line by line, point by point in much the same way as an inkjet printer moves to put ink on a page.

Images in a vector file, on the other hand, are built by mathematical formulas that establish points on a grid. It doesn’t matter how much you adjust the size because grid simply shrinks or expands without losing resolution.

When we do vector engraving, the laser follows the vector lines, drawing each one is a continuous line, a bit like someone doing a line drawing. Vector files are ideal for engravings that include fine details best seen in close-up.



Why combine raster and vector engraving?

Raster engraving can achieve a high level of detail on its own, as can vector engraving but when we combine raster and vector engraving, it lifts the visual effect to something extra special.

The raster engraving enables us to fill and shade areas to different depths, giving the engraving a beautiful sense of texture and an almost-3D quality. The vector engraving them ensures that we’re able to create sharp outlines and delicate, precise details within the engraving.



Raster and vector engraving works on virtually any material

Another reason that raster and vector engraving both complement each other so well is that they each work on virtually any material including wood, acrylic, leather, laminates, MDF, cork, paper, ceramics, coated metals and textiles.

Just talk to us about your raster and vector engraving needs and we’ll be happy to turn your ideas into a finished design on the material/item of your choice. If you’re not sure what would work best for your needs, that’s fine – we can give you plenty of advice and pricing options to help you decide.



Need help with the design?

As we’ve explained above, raster and vector engraving both have different benefits; combining them is all about giving you the best of both worlds.

We have a design team who can create the engraving artwork for you, using their knowledge of raster and vector files to create the right balance of techniques (the price for this will be given as part of your requested quote). Alternatively, have a look at our artwork guidelines here if you already have a file you want to submit.

Our process explained

Your custom raster and vector engraving – Our process explained


Contact us via our contact page to tell us about your custom raster and vector engraving needs or call us on 01626 366047



Step 2 of our process


A member of our team will get in touch to discuss your order, confirm the details and develop your custom raster and vector engraving design



Step 3 of our process


Approve the design proofs for your custom raster and vector engraving, then relax and wait to receive your completed order


Check out raster and vector engraving in action

The video below shows raster and vector engraving in action. As you can see, the laser moves at speed across the horizontal (x) axis and slower down the vertical (y) axis during the raster engraving part of the process to create a perfectly shaded design. The vector engraving is then overlaid on the design to add detail and definition to the outline. Here, you’ll notice that the laser point moves more like a pencil in a hand, following the lines in single strokes rather than the printer-type movement associated with raster engraving.

Want to outsource your raster and vector engraving?

Would you like to be able to offer your clients combined raster and vector engraving – for example, on promotional materials, trophies, awards or merchandise – without having to invest in buying, running and maintaining a laser machine?

Subcontract this service to us with complete confidence.

We will work closely with you to provide innovative solutions for your clients. As laser engraving, marking and cutting are our business, you have the peace of mind of knowing that we invest in and use leading-edge equipment and technologies, and have a skilled team who are constantly updating their skills.

You can market these benefits as part of your offering, discovering new opportunities for growth as a result.

To discuss how subcontracting could work for your business or to arrange a demo, give us a call on 01626 366047

If you need more advice, please contact us. We are only a phone call away for advice or a quotation.