As a designer or marketer, it’s essential that you can distinguish between the features of raster and vector images. Rasters are used typically in photography and on websites, while vector graphics are heavily used in branding and logos.
What are raster graphics?
Raster-based graphics contain pixels that define the colors, edges of shapes, and details in images. If you zoom in on a raster image, you’ll notice those pixels become more prevalent and defined. As those pixels become larger, the edges and details become blurry and jagged. This “pixelation” is a key giveaway when figuring out whether an image is in a raster or vector format.
Raster graphics can only be scaled down to avoid heavy pixelation, which can seriously limit the application of your logo – what if you need it for a billboard? To truly find out if a logo is in raster or vector format, take a look at its file name. Files that end with PNG, JPG, TIFF, PSD or BMP are raster graphics.
What are vector graphics?
Vector graphics are comprised of formulaic curves. Due to a vector’s mathematical makeup, each path, line, or curve looks precise at any size. These complex shapes and lines can be produced exclusively in vector-based programs, such as Adobe Illustrator. Raster-based programs such as Adobe Photoshop cannot produce vectors.
Elements such as icons, logos and typography are ideally designed with vectors to retain that crisp quality at various dimensions. To tell if an image is a vector look at the file format. Files that end in AI, EPS, PDF or SVG typically contain vector graphics; the document can be edited within Illustrator if the files end in EPS, AI or SVG.
Why your logo should be vector
- A vector logo is infinitely scalable
A vector’s main advantage over its raster counterparts is its infinite scalability; you can scale logos up or down without loss of resolution and quality.
- A vector logo is easily editable
In addition to being scalable, vector logos are easily editable. Perhaps you’d like to change the logo color or rearrange the logo components.
- A vector logo has many export options
When working in vector-based programs such as Illustrator, you can easily export a single vector logo to any vector or raster format as needed.
West Press’ talented staff is here to help you each step of the way — from graphic design to printing to mailing services to large format to website development. Contact West Press or your Account Executive at 520-624-4939 today.