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Vector vs. Raster

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

Have you ever been asked to provide a vector graphic of your company logo? What is a vector graphic, and why is it so important that your logo be in this format? Below is an explanation of both vector and raster graphics that will help break down the purpose and uses for each.

Raster Graphics

Bitmap image is another name for raster graphics. This name comes from the fact that a raster graphic is made up of thousands or millions of tiny squares called pixels. At first look, you may not be able to see these pixels (if the image is high resolution), but on any raster graphic, if you zoom in close enough, you will be able to see the individual pixels. The file size for a raster graphic can quickly become large and cumbersome with images that are higher resolution. Basic file types that raster graphics can be saved as are JPEG, GIF, PNG, or TIFF. The best use for raster graphics are photographs.

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are established in mathematical theory, and are composed of lines or paths. Specific computer softwares must be used to create this intricate wireframe image that is composed of nodes and lines. Because the image is created from paths rather than pixels, you can zoom in indefinitely on the image and never lose resolution. The graphic can also be scaled to any size and not lose any resolution. The file size for vector graphics tends to be very small. This is due to the fact that the files are identified as mathematical descriptions rather than individual pixels. The small file size makes it considerably easier to work with and transfer. Basic file types for vector graphics are EPS, SVG, SVF, DRW, PIF, PCT, and PS. The best use for vector graphics are logo designs and designs for animation.

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