KMY Design Blog

Design Basics: Raster Images vs Vector Images

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When it comes to design, one of the fundamental concepts to understand is the difference between raster images and vector images. While both types of images are widely used, they have different characteristics and are best suited for specific purposes. In this article, we will explore the differences between raster and vector images and why it is important to choose the right type of image for your design needs.

So what is the difference?

A raster image is made up of pixels or dots that form the image. If you zoom in on a raster image, you will notice that the image becomes more pixelated and the edges of the shapes become jagged. Raster images are commonly used in photography and digital artwork. The quality of a raster image is determined by its resolution, which is measured in dots per inch (dpi). The higher the resolution, the better the quality of the image. However, increasing the resolution also increases the file size of the image.

A vector image, on the other hand, is made up of mathematical formulas that define the shapes and lines in the image. Unlike raster images, vector images can be resized without losing quality or becoming pixelated. They are commonly used in logos, illustrations, and graphic design. Vector images are resolution-independent, meaning that they can be scaled up or down without affecting the quality of the image. This makes them a versatile choice for various design applications.

Why is it Important to Choose the Right Image Type for Your Logo?

Choosing the right image type for your logo is crucial, especially if you plan to use it in various sizes and formats. A raster logo cannot be resized without losing quality, which means that you may end up with a blurry or pixelated image if you try to enlarge it. Raster images are also limited in terms of color separation, which can make it difficult to use them for certain printing methods. On the other hand, a vector logo can be resized, recolored, and modified easily without affecting its quality. It is also compatible with various design software and printing methods.

How to Determine if You Have a Vector or Raster Image?

Vector images have the following file extensions:

Raster images have the following file extensions:

Vector images are commonly saved in file formats such as .ai, .eps, or .svg. Raster images are saved in file formats such as .jpg, .png, or .tiff. However, it is important to note that some raster images may be saved in vector formats, which can be misleading. To ensure that you have a vector image, you can zoom in on the image to see if it becomes pixelated. If it remains sharp and clear, it is likely a vector image.

Understanding the differences between raster and vector images is essential for creating high-quality designs. By choosing the right type of image for your needs, you can ensure that your designs look professional and consistent across various formats and sizes. If you are unsure about the type of image you have or need help creating a vector version of your logo, it is best to consult with a graphic designer who has experience working with both raster and vector images.

File extension icons made by Vitaly Gorbachev from