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What are vector and raster files?

Vector vs raster image

Have you ever had someone ask you for a vector graphic or a vector version of your logo and you had no idea what they were talking about?

A vector graphic is usually a file ending in .ai, .eps or .svg and it is an illustration made up of paths and curves. These paths and curves are not made up of dots (like a raster image is) and can be scaled to as large as a billboard and not lose any quality. Vector images are created in programs like Illustrator.

Raster graphics, on the other hand, are made up of dots and are file types .jpg, .png, .bmp, .tif, .gif. When you enlarge raster images they can lose quality because the larger you scale the image, the more visible the dots. Raster images can become ‘pixelated’ when scaled to large sizes if the original quality of the image is low. Photographs are always raster images and once you lower the resolution it is very difficult to scale the image to a larger size without loss of quality.

We have had many clients over the years provide low-resolution images which we’ve not been able to use because the quality was too poor for printing. PDFs are generally vector files, depending on how they were created.

Did you know graphic designers can ‘vectorise’ an existing logo by redrawing it using programs like Illustrator? If you need a vector version of your logo, get in touch hello@copperandzincdesign.com.au