ARTBYMARK - Blog
What is the difference between raster and vector
Have you ever been told by a supplier that your logo is raster and needs to be supplied to them as a vector file?
I will try to explain the difference between the two.
Raster Graphics can be categorized by those that are made up of pixels (small blocks). They include photos and images downloaded from the web. Common formats for a raster file would be JPG or JPEG and PNG. Raster graphics are defined by their DPI (Dots Per Inch) which basically means the more dots the image contains, the better the quality will be. EG 72 DPI would mean a low quality file or (Low Res) and a 300 DPI file would be referred as a high quality file or (High Res). The most common problem encountered with raster graphics is that they loose quality or resolution when they are enlarged, and also the files can become very large in terms of megabytes (Mb) if they are made up at real size.
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Most suppliers will request a Vector file (later explained) to eliminate loss of quality and to also provide you with the sharpest and cleanest outcome possible (regardless of size). Uses for raster graphics include: Onscreen images for websites, photos, and images placed in various programs such as WORD or EXCEL or Publisher.
A Vector Graphic is one that uses mathematical shapes to create the image. It is made up of points, lines and curves and provides a perfectly accurate file. These types of files must be generated in a Vector based program such as Illustrator or CorelDraw (to name a few). You cannot simply save a raster graphic or photo to a vector format, it must originate from the vector program or be re-drawn in one. Common vector formats include: EPS, AI and PDF. These will be the most requested formats from a professional supplier. The advantages of a vector graphic include: Unlimited scaling (Ideal for signage), low file size (Ideal for emailing to supplier) and no loss of quality.
As you can see both formats have their place in the digital world. However incorrect use of the wrong file can cause unprofessional results and loss of branding conformity. If you have any further queries relating to file formats don't hesitate to contact me or leave a comment. I will be happy to help. I have been supplying quality graphics for any medium for over 20 years in many different fields, and there is nothing that I do not know relating to file formats.