Raster vs Vector: what’s the difference and when to use which

With so many different images to choose from online, it can be very daunting to decide which one to opt for, especially if you are not really sure what the difference is. Here we are going to try and shed some light on raster and vector images and when you should use each one.

 

Raster Images

If you spend any time at all on the internet you will definitely have come across a raster image. A raster image consists of lots of tiny squares called pixels. These pixels contain bits of colour and when they are all put together they make an image. The more pixels that make up an image the higher the quality and vice versa.  When you magnifiy a raster image the pixels become more apparent and the edges appear jagged. It is for this reason that you should only downsize a raster image. Obvious pixels make an image look unsightly and poor quality.

Raster images are used in photography and digital applications. When you take a picture with your phone or camera the image is recorded as pixel data and when this image is uploaded online the end result will be a raster image. These type of images can be edited in raster-based programs such as Adobe Photoshop and are best used for photography or imagery only. They will not lend themselves well to logo designs or icons because of their pixel base.

 

Vector Images

Vector images consist of paths and curves and are produced exclusively through software designed for vectors, such as Adobe Illustrator. Due to the way a vector image is constructed it can be scaled up to massive dimensions and still remain smooth and crisp.

The fact that a vector image can be scaled up without affecting its quality, makes it perfect for design work such as logos and icons. Both a logo and icon often need to be applied to a number of different sized marketing material. Be it a business card or a billboard, a vector will be able to be resized for both without losing quality.

 

Now that you know your rasters from your vectors you will be able to make the right decision when it comes to your company’s marketing material and branding. If however, you still can’t separate the pixels from the paths you can let us do that for you.

 

Call  today on 01487 843311 or email  info@printandlabel.com and our design team will create the right artwork for the right job.