Vector vs. Raster? How to Choose the Best File Format?

Vector vs. Raster

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 Digital graphic images usually fall under either of the following types—vector or raster. Specific files, such as logo images, employ intricate paths made with points and lines to make up an image called Vector graphics. Images like digital photographs, which are made using small pixels, are called Raster graphics. In this article, we will focus on the topic of vector vs. raster and understand the type required for your specific purposes. 

Vector Image

Vector graphics need to be created with the help of software that is made to create such intricate wireframe-like pictures. The most important characteristic of this kind of image is that it always appears smooth irrespective of how close it is zoomed. One of the most common types of vector images is text.

Drawbacks of Vector Images 

Compatibility is the most prevalent problem that arises while using vector images. They frequently get saved in a proprietary format that only the software used for creating the image can recognize.

Vector files are usually comparatively smaller than raster files because they only need to process some points and lines in contrast to the hundreds of thousands of pixels of a raster file. 

Even though they are smaller in size, these images might be very complicated, and they also have a few setbacks:

• Vector graphics are not supposed to deal with photographic imagery or any other kind of images that have substantial effects. 

• Vector graphics are usually filled with a single color or limited gradients, and cannot display the wide variety of a raster image. 

Raster Image

Raster images are also called bitmap images due to the thousands of tiny pixels that they are made of. If you zoom in on a raster image, you can distinguish the square outlines of the individual pixels (particularly around parts with dramatic color variations). Raster images can be created using “photo or paint” software (for example, Adobe Photoshop). Therefore, they are good for getting detailed, richly colored images such as photographs.

Drawbacks of Raster Images

Raster images are generally larger in file size than vector images. Greater DPI (Dots Per Inch) or PPI (Pixels Per Inch) might also make up larger files. File size might be a cause of concern if there are limitations on server or storage space or if you need to transmit the file electronically.

Their drawbacks are as follows:

• Raster images are generally larger. If you consider every single pixel used to create a photograph, the file size quickly gets big.

• Raster images are not easily resized. It is possible to size down a large file easily, but the opposite is almost impossible. The images get blurry, distorted or even pixelated upon enlarging. This happens because transforming a raster image means stretching the pixels. Therefore, the computer should fill in the data from the missing parts of the image based on the surrounding pixels. That is why logos that get saved as .jpeg files might get distorted, pixelated, and incorrectly displayed. 


In general, it is possible to differentiate between vector and raster images by closely looking at the sides of the texts and logos. Any vector image always appears smooth regardless of how much you enlarge or zoom it. On the other hand, in a raster image, the square outlines of individual pixels will be visible. File extensions might also help in suggesting the category of a file, even though there are exceptions to this rule.

Both raster and vector files are umbrella terms for different types of files with various functions, objectives, and benefits. It is important to explore the most viable file extensions in both of these categories before concluding choosing a suitable file.

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