Vector Vs. Raster

It is important for any designer or even the client to know the difference between Vector and Raster graphics. Learning the difference between the two will help you choose what is the best method to take for your media project.

RASTER

Raster images or raster graphics are made of pixel, which pixels are a dot and the smallest point in a display device. Raster images required a specific pixel resolution because they can’t resized without losing quality and are widely used for web graphics.

VECTOR

Vector graphics use polygons to represent images, they are based on vectors which have a definite position on an x and y axis. Vector graphics can be enlarge or shrunk without lose of quality and is widely use for print because of this very reason.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE ONE OR THE OTHER

Author Raster Logo

Example of Raster Logo

Author's New Vector Logo

Example of Vector Logo

First lets take a look at my personal logo, the one on the top I create about 10 years ago when I first started attending school for my Associates in Specialize Technology and it was designed in Photoshop which is a raster paint program. The logo looks great at the original pixel resolution size, it can even be shrunk and for the most part still looks fairly good but when increased in size the image becomes pixelated.

Now lets look at the logo at the bottom, just re-design recently, created in illustrated a vector art program it can be shrunk or increased in size and doesn’t lose quality or get pixelated because vector graphics are mathematics calculations which adapt to change. This vector designed logo also goes back to simplicity in logo design, the clean lines and simple graphics make for an easy transition when changing size and an overall more memorable design. The new design isn’t much different from the original but the slight changes makes a bigger impact and stays true to the keep it simple stupid motto.

If you are working on a project that has an exact size requirement and will not need to change size over time or on different medias (web) then you would be able to use raster. However, if your project or graphic such as logo, business card, brochure or any print media will change in size or need to adapt to several different media types then vector would be the way to go because as said before it can be resize without lost of quality and that is important in any print project!

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