The simple answer to the vector versus raster question is that raster files are made up of pixels whereas vector files are constructed using mathematical formulas. Those formulas allow vector images to be scaled to any size without loss of clarity.
Let’s dive in a little deeper.
You may be familiar with JPG and PNG files. These files fall into the raster category. They are made up entirely of pixels (single blocks of color). Their quality is dependent on the image resolution (pixels per inch or ppi). When these images are enlarged, the squares become enlarged as well, causing pixilation. You’ve no doubt seen images with jagged edges that just don’t look clean—they’re most likely low-resolution raster images. Another drawback to JPG files is that they don’t allow for transparent backgrounds. In other words, if you try to place a JPG file over a photo, you will get the dreaded, ugly white box behind your logo.
Vector files (AI and some EPS) are the ultimate files for designers. I like to tell our clients that they can be scaled up to the size of a football field and still look perfect. Even when I’m designing a website (which ultimately ends up being a pixel-based product), I use vector files for the design process. This allows me to resize the logo without losing resolution. You can reduce the size of the file to a very small size and then change your mind and scale it up to poster size and it still looks perfect. Doing this with a raster file creates horrible, jagged-edged results.
You may not be able to open and view your vector files depending on the software you have, but your designer can open these files and will thank you dearly for sending vector files rather than raster files (especially raster files copied from your website)!
Although JPG and PNG files have their place, I recommend sending your designer vector files regardless of usage (i.e., print or digital). This just gives the designer the flexibility to make you look your best in any medium!
Need a new logo? Contact Creative Spark and we’ll create the perfect vector logo for use on everything from websites, videos, ads, print materials and even large-format banners. We can help you with those items as well!