Back to Basics: The Differences Between Vector Graphics and Raster Images

We at Logo Expressions Inc. want the products you create with us to look good. In fact, we want them to look great. The products you purchase through us have the potential to create more business for you and establishing your company as a trustworthy one in your niche.

However, for your products to look stellar, we have some guidelines on how your logo or artwork needs to be submitted to us. Our artwork page goes over our guidelines, including file formats and vector and raster graphics. Yet, the purpose of this article is to go a bit more in depth on this.

What are Vector Graphics?

“A computer image that is stored in memory as lines rather than a series of dots, allowing it to be rotated or proportionally scaled.” – Dictionary.com

In other words, something that is a vector graphic is scalable to any size because of its mathematical properties. You can make it as big or small as you’d like without losing any quality. The advantage of this is that you only need one vector graphic of a logo instead of various files of different sizes. Since it’s all based on math, the lines scale in proportion to all the others.

Common Vector file formats:

  • .Ai (This means that the graphic was created in Adobe Illustrator.)
  • .Pdf (Very versatile and viewable on almost any computer.)
  • .Eps (This file is very versatile that is compatible with many different programs.)

Example

Notice that this vector based logo scales perfectly; retaining it's quality and looking crisp, clean and smooth.

What are Raster Images?

“Formation consisting of the set of horizontal lines composed of pixels that are used to form an image.” –Definr

This means that every raster image comes with a certain amount of little squares called pixels. Each pixel contains information to create the complete image. When you make raster images larger, you can’t include more pixels; that number has already been predefined. So when you make a raster image larger, it loses quality because the pixels don’t contain the appropriate information to be scaleable; they had information for a particular size, nor bigger or smaller.

Common Raster Image formats:

  • .Jpeg (Usually photographs.)
  • .Gif (Used mostly for graphics on the web.)
  • .Png (Versatile format that supports transperancy.)
  • .Psd (File that originates from Adobe Photoshop.)

Example

In contrast, this raster image doesn't scale well at all. You can notice the loss in quality in the image.

Wrap-Up

Both vector and raster images have their advantages and disadvantages and when their formats are used effectively and correctly, the qualities of both have the chance to shine.