Raster vs. Vector: What's the Difference for Logo Design?

The difference between raster and vector graphics, types of logos you should design with each type, and when to use either in logo design.


Raster vs vector icons

There’s a lot of talk about vector and raster graphics, but what do they actually mean? And when should you use vector graphics over raster graphics for logo design? In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between vector and raster images, and when you might want to use each type.


Read More: How much does logo design cost? Click here for the full pricing guide

What is a Vector Image File?


Vector images are created using mathematical formulas to define the shapes and colors of each object in the image. This makes vector graphics scalable, so they can be enlarged or reduced without losing any quality. Vector files are also resolution-independent, meaning that they will always look sharp regardless of how large you print them.


In comparison to raster images, a vector graphic’s formulaic makeup reduces file sizes considerably. When there are limits to file size or picture storage, this is advantageous. While a vector image file has several benefits, there are compatibility issues when it comes to sharing. In order for you to modify the native files, you’ll need access to vector-based programs in order to edit the native files.


Common File Formats for Vector Images


  • .AI (Adobe Illustrator document)

  • .EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

  • .SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic)

  • .PDF (Portable Document Format; only when saved from vector programs)


What is a Raster Image File?


Raster images, on the other hand, are made up of a grid of tiny squares called pixels. When you look at a raster image on your computer screen, each pixel is displayed as a square. The more pixels an image has, the higher its resolution and the sharper it will appear.


However, because raster images are composed of individual pixels, they can only be enlarged or reduced a certain number of times before the image starts to look blurry. Also, because raster images are resolution-dependent, you need to specify the size of the image when you save it. If you want to print an image at a different size than what is displayed on your screen, you’ll need to re-save the image at a higher or lower resolution.


Raster images are created using digital photos, graphics, and scanned artwork. The file type most commonly associated with raster images is .jpg (Joint Photographic Experts Group).


Common File Formats for Raster Images


  • .TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

  • .PSD (Adobe Photoshop Document)

  • .JPG / .JPEG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)

  • .PNG (Portable Network Graphic)

  • .GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

  • .BMP (Bitmap Image File)


Vector & Raster Logo Differences and Where to Use Them?


Now that we’ve gone over vector and raster images, let’s take a look at how they differ when it comes to logo design. A vector logo can be scaled up or down without any loss in quality, which is why many businesses choose vector logos for their branding. They also have a clean, sleek appearance that makes them perfect for digital applications.


Raster logos, on the other hand, are made up of individual pixels and can only be enlarged a certain number of times before they start to look blurry. However, raster logos often have more personality and can be used for both digital and print applications.


In general, vector logos are a better choice for businesses that want a clean, professional look for their branding. Raster logos are a better choice for businesses that want a more creative or personality-driven logo. However, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to vector vs. raster logos – sometimes the best solution is to use a combination of both!



Popular Vector & Raster Logo Editors


  1. Adobe Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard vector graphic design program that is used by professional graphic designers and businesses to create vector images and logos.

  2. Inkscape: Inkscape is a free vector graphic design program that is popular among hobbyists and DIYers. It has many of the features of Adobe Illustrator, but can be a bit more difficult to use.

  3. CorelDraw: CorelDraw is a vector graphic design program that is popular among businesses and professional graphic designers. It has more features than Inkscape and is easier to use, but it is also more expensive.

  4. Photoshop: Photoshop is a raster image editor that is used by professional photographers and graphic designers to create and edit digital photos. It has many features that are not found in vector graphic design programs, such as the ability to add text effects and layer masks.

  5. GIMP: GIMP is a free raster image editor that is popular among hobbyists and DIYers. It has many of the features of Photoshop, but can be a bit more difficult to use.


Converting Raster to Vector (and Vice Versa)


If you have a raster image that you want to convert to vector, there are several online tools and programs that can do the job for you. Vector images can also be converted to raster images, but the quality of the resulting image will not be as good as if it were originally created in vector format.


Some popular online vector & raster conversion tools are:


  • vectorization.com is a free online tool that can convert raster images to vector images. It is easy to use and has a simple interface.

  • convert-svg-to-png.com is another free online vector conversion tool that can convert SVG files to PNG files. It is also easy to use and has a simple interface.

  • vectormagic.com is a paid online vector conversion tool that can convert raster images to vector images. It has a more complicated interface than the other two tools, but it also offers more features.

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