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Vector vs. Raster – What’s the Difference?

February 7, 2018

How to tell if a file is Vector or Raster

Customers always ask.  I have a logo, can you work with this?  I ask what format is it?  Is it raster or vector?  The customer doesn’t know.  How can you tell?  The first way to tell is the file format. A vector file format is .ai, .pdf., .eps, and .svg.  The customer has a jpeg file.  That’s raster.  A raster file can be .jpg, .tif, .png, or .bmp.  But what’s the difference between these files?

Here are 2 different logos.

These 2 logos look exactly the same!  They are very different, though.  The one on the left is raster, and the right one is vector.  Let’s take a closer look.

Can you see the difference?  Not really?  Let’s get even closer.

The one on the left looks a little blurry.  Here’s a big picture of the raster logo.

Here’s a big picture of the vector logo.

Raster images

Do you see the difference now? What are those little squares?  What is a raster file? A raster file consists of individual pixels – usually a photo image, like a Adobe Photoshop file. When you zoom in really close, you can see the little pixels. Why is this a problem? Raster images cannot be enlarged, and if they are low resolution, your logo will be illegible. It will be hard to modify and to change the colors.

Vector images

With a vector image, you can enlarge it 10 times, and it will still look the same. A vector file is usually created in Adobe Illustrator.  With one click, the colors can be instantly changed. The logo can be added to any type of product easily- put it on a t-shirt, business card, or banner. The logo can be cut out on vinyl – make an instant window vinyl graphic! The possibilities are endless.

How is the logo vectorized?

I recreate using Adobe Illustrator by hand (I don’t use tracing programs or filters) Tracing programs are not 100% accurate, and can lead to jagged lines. I use the pen tool to recreate it, allowing for smooth, accurate detail. It does take more time to do it, but you will appreciate your final product.  Do you need a file vectorized?  Stop by my Etsy store and I can help you out.  Click here to see the listing.

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