What’s a vector image vs. a raster image

September 6, 2018 - 2 minutes read

Have you ever been asked for a vector image of a client logo from a graphic artist and didn’t really know why?

There are two types of graphic files that each has its own purpose. Raster images are pixel-based and are typically photographic images. Vector images are usually created on a computer and are not pixel-based but shape based.

For logos and illustrations, the vector image types are preferred over a raster or bitmap image for quality and scalability. As you can see from the image below, vector images do not produce a pixelated or blurry effect when scaled up to any size. They will also be a relatively small file size. This will ensure the highest quality at any size needed. The vector image type is mostly used for logos, illustrations and printed pieces that will be applied to physical products, like t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens, etc. This file type uses solid colors and solid line work and rarely uses a color gradient.

In contrast, a raster or bitmap image is pixel-based and is the format for photographs. These images typically need to be provided at the largest size possible to obtain high quality results and to avoid blurriness if it needs to be scaled up to a larger size. Therefore, these big file types have equally large file sizes. It is always better to scale down than up when placing raster images into a composition. When raster or bitmap images are needed, the bigger the better.

Common vector file types: (logos, illustrations)

  • .eps
  • .ai
  • .pdf
  • .svg
Common raster file types: (photographs)

  • .png
  • .jpg or .jpeg
  • .gif
  • .tif

If you have a company logo, it is worth checking with your creative team to see if your logo is raster or vector. If it is only a raster image, you may find it difficult to get specialty items printed. It would be worth the time and investment to get your logo recreated or traced in a vector format.

If you need your company logo in a vector file format, Federated Digital Solutions can help.