What are Vector and Raster Graphics?

When you're starting up a business, having a professional image is essential. With all the different formats, options and file types it's easy to get a bit confused about what to use and when.

The two main types of digital image are 'raster' and 'vector'.

Vector images are made up of points, lines and curves or 'paths' and are completely scaleable without losing image quality. Software packages such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw are available and used by most professional studios.

Raster images, also referred to as 'bitmap' and 'pixel' images are made up of a vast amount of tiny squares, called pixels. Raster images aren't scaleable in the same way as vectors, and will distort and blur if they're stretched too far.

Vector vs Raster graphic for Web

Now you know the difference between the two, you might be wondering what they're used for. There are benefits for both vector and raster formats. Vectors are very good for logo design, as they have clean, perfect edges and are scalable to fit perfectly on anything from posters, leaflets and banners to your website and marketing emails. They're are also used to create fonts, so they retain their quality at any point size. We created these graphics for Jackson Building Society below in a vector format:

Vector Example

Although vector illustrations do have many applications, from line-art, to diagrams and even detailed car advertisements, it is still fairly limited in comparison to raster. Highly detailed digital art can be made in programmes such as photoshop, using effects and brushes that can't be done with vectors. Photographs are also a pixel-based type of image. This means that it's important to have high resolution photos, as you can make them smaller without losing quality, but not bigger. We created these graphics below using Photoshop, in a pixel based format:

Raster Example

Using the right type of graphics across your print literature, website and social media will strengthen your brand and give your business a professional image to reflect your work.

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DW Design & Print have been creating brands that work since 1991. We work with all sizes of business, from local businesses and start-ups to established multi-national companies. Check out Our Work and Contact Us.

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