Vector vs. raster? A battle for the ages and one of the greatest struggles many designers face when creating graphics. The file format depends significantly on what you’re trying to accomplish, and this article will analyze these options for you.

When you create a logo, a poster, or a card design (for a job, a client, or your own hussle), you’ll have the choice between using vectors or raster graphics, commonly known as JPEGs.

Long story short - you should always, always use vector graphics when you can for anything professional like a logo or printed material. Clarity and editability are two of the most significant benefits of the vector format, though there are several other reasons.

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So we’ll break it down for you:

What is a vector?

Vectors are digital shapes made of lines and curves that create an image based on a mathematical equation. Also called paths, these lines and curves allow designers to scale images as simple as a shape or as complex as a full-blown illustration.

You can identify a vector image by checking its edges: a vector’s edges will always appear smooth no matter how close you zoom in.

What about raster graphics?

Raster graphics are instead made of pixels, the tiny colored squares you see when zooming into the image. The most well-known format for raster images is the .jpeg (or .jpg) file, but file formats such as .png, .gif and .tiff are also pixel-based. Any photo you take with your phone or camera is a raster image.

Vector flowers on an orange background

Vector vs. raster

Infinite scalability

If you’ve ever tried to resize a raster graphic or a jpeg, then you know how dangerous and useless it is to do. Because it’s made of a fixed amount of pixels, the image becomes distorted and low quality once you expand a raster graphic too far beyond its original dimensions. This isn’t the case with vectors.

As mentioned before, a vector’s most significant advantage over its raster rival is its infinite scalability. It doesn’t matter how much you scale them; you won’t see any loss in quality or clarity. The edges will always appear smooth.

You only have to design a vector image once, and you can alter its size as much as your project requires. For example, if you create a vector logo, you can make it large enough for a banner or small enough for a business card. It’s as easy as that.

The difference in file size

Raster graphics typically take up a larger file size because they are made from pixels that carry more weight compared to vector images, which are inherently made from lines of code.

So, for instance, a 1:1 aspect ratio image at 300 dpi will have 300 pixels of information, while a vector square will contain just four points, one for each corner. The vector’s mathematical formula connects the points and fills in the colors.

As a result, vector graphics load faster, making them excellent in web- or mobile-based applications. And they have many other uses!

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Infinitely editable

Design iterations are not only a must in any creative process, but they can be a painstaking process when new ideas pop up all the time.

Maybe you want to change the color of your logo or rearrange some of its components. It's only natural that during this creative life cycle, you should be able to make changes in a simple and straightforward manner.

Aside from being easy to resize, vector objects are also great because they can be easily edited, and colors can be quickly swapped out. This ability to seamlessly make corrections or alter a design file is essential when dealing with clients or operating in a fast-paced, deadline-driven work environment.

In vector-based programs like Vectornator, you can quickly change the color values either in RGB or HSB by inserting a specific HEX code or selecting your preferred choice by using the color well.

Why is using vectors better?

Vector graphics provide high-quality, scalable images while also conserving file size.

We’re not saying it’s always better, but designing with vectors is versatile for many business applications. It should be your primary choice for printing logos, signs, illustrations, infographics, creating animations, and UX/UI design.

They're also used in web-based objects, rendering 2D or 3D computer animation, and even for coin design, laser engraving, T-shirts, and everything in between.

So you might want to consider using vectors for your next digital project, and Linearity Curve is the perfect vector-based app to get you started.

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Drawing with vectors | Linearity
Drawing with vectors