Understanding the difference between Vector and Raster file formats

by Logo Recyclers Every Business Starts With An Identity

Whether you're looking for a graphic design for print or the web, choosing how your design is drawn can make a huge difference in how you're able to distribute it. Digital drawings can be classified in two different ways: vector or raster. This article goes into the differences between the two and how it affects your design.


A vector format is an algorithm based drawing method, which in layman's terms means it's drawn with math. The official definition via Wikipedia is, "... the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics."

Vector format has a couple of very strong advantages in design. For instance, since a vector file doesn't need to save the color and location of every pixel in an image, the files as a whole are generally smaller than other kinds of images. This is because a vector format only needs to retain specific details about an image, such as the position of points, lines, and fill.

Secondly, since vector images are created using algorithms, it’s possible to scale them without losing any resolution. It's possible because the only things changing when you make a picture bigger or smaller are the numerical values that give your image its shape and color. So, no pixelation!

So what’s it good for?

Utilizing vector artwork services is good for many important things. For instance, if you want to do any branding, merchandising, or advertising, your company or personal logo will be printed on many different media in many different sizes. To make sure that it looks exactly the same on everything, whether it's the size of a quarter or a house, you need to make sure that it's drawn in a way that printing companies can scale your image efficiently.

Some of the most common file extensions for vector images are .ai (Adobe Illustrator), .eps (Encapsulated PostScript), and .pdf (Portable Document Format). Some popular file types, such as .ai or .pdf, require specific software to view, while others are more forgiving.


Raster images are very different from vector images. Most of the pictures you find on your computer and the web are raster images. From the photos your camera takes, to the doodles you make in MS Paint, they're all produced and saved as raster images. So, what are they?

Raster images are produced by blocks (pixels) of color. You've seen it before. If you zoom in on an image, chances are you'll see that individual squares of color make up the picture as a whole. It's an effective way to make very detailed images because it allows an impressively high resolution with any combination of the thousands of colors your monitor can display.

So, what’s it good for?

For any purpose where your images don’t need to be resized, first off. They are optimal for web design, concept art, digital paintings, and more. As long as you create your image at the correct scale, they will print beautifully. Another thing that's a huge plus is that they're easy to create. If you have an artist's eye, you can paint a picture or edit a photograph far faster in raster than it would take to meticulously recreate an image in vector or other formats available in logo design packages. There are many popular programs designed for just this purpose, such as Adobe Photoshop.

Some of the most common raster image extensions include .jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group), .bmp (Windows Bitmap), and .png (Portable Network Graphics). Most are forgiving and can be opened by many different programs.

This is all just a very brief overview of vector and raster images. Remember, the best way to learn anything is to experiment. You might not know the right questions to ask until you play around and stumble upon a problem that needs solving! When you do, professional logo designers are always around to help.

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About Logo Recyclers Freshman   Every Business Starts With An Identity

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Joined APSense since, November 29th, 2018, From New York, United States.

Created on Dec 14th 2018 05:49. Viewed 577 times.


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