What are Vector and Raster Graphics and when do I use them?

In the design world, there are 2 types of files- Vector graphics (ai, eps, pdf) and Raster graphics (jpg, png, tiff, bmp). Vector graphics are generated using mathematical and geometrical equations to represent shapes, letters, and numbers, but don’t worry about getting your calculator out, the math is all handled behind the scenes with computer magic. Vectors are great because they are able to be scaled from business card size all the way up to billboard-sized or more without losing any quality in the image. Vectors are the preferred format for logos and other brand graphics, due to their versatility.

The main that thing vectors aren’t, however, are photographs. Where a vector can be scaled without losing quality, I am sure we are all familiar with what happens to a medium or low-resolution photo when it is blown up. It becomes pixelated, or ‘blocky-looking’ and all around not great to look at, as you can see by many of the pictures on this page.

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