Rasters & Vectors

Raster and vector files

Both raster and vector images have their own place in design and both have their many advantages and disadvantages. So what is the difference between vector and raster images and when should you use them?

What is a Raster File

A digital raster graphic is made out of pixels, similar to squares that make up a mosaic.

A pixel is a square of solid colour made from the combination of red, green and blue (RGB) light

When is a Raster 
image used?

Designers use RASTER images when creating graphics in program like Photoshop. Raster should be used for photography, video, and web-based media.

When not to use a 
raster image

Raster images should not be used for logos, icons and are dependent on a high or web ready resolution when used for print or when on a website.

Things to consider when using raster images:

Your raster document size will depend on the number of pixels (squares of your mosaic) it is made up of.

The more pixels that have in your document, the higher quality, or resolution your image is. But they also applies the other way! The fewer pixels you have in your document means that the image will be smaller and pixelated when you resized.

If you reduce your file size you can not reverse this, unless you have saved a copy – which I highly recommend!

Used on programs:

Adobe PhotoshopAdobe LightroomProCreate

Used for:

Photography
Web design
Social media ads
Social media images
Electronic image
Digital painting

File formats:

.JPG
.GIF
.PNG
.TIFF
.RAW
.PSD

What is a vector file?

A flat scalable digital graphic.

Vectors are shapes that can be altered to any size without loosing any resolution.

Editable invisible points enable the designers to edit the shape of the artwork.

Designers can set strokes, colours, weights, and profiles.

When is a vector
 image used?

Ideal for print designs due to the fact that they are resolution independent. Their scalability make them perfect for designs like logos that can be easily changed or edited.
Great for animated graphics and easily converted to raster.

When not to use a 
Vector image?

Vectors will not show colour gradients well, plus textures or shading can become flat or create huge complex files that are difficult to edit.

Things to consider when using vector images:

Vector based images can become problematic when they contain raster data.

Although a vector image might be the best way to produce your logo, you will still need raster versions of your logo for digital platforms, such as social media or your website.

Before you commence your design stage check with the intended printer if they require a file type

Used on programs:

Adobe IllustratorFigma

Used for:

Logo Designs
Illustrations
Packaging
T-shirts
Signages
Web graphics

File formats:

.EPS
.AI
.SVG

 

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