Vector vs. Raster Images

Vector vs. Raster Images

When it comes to art files, there are two categories of images. A vector is made up of points, whereas a raster, also known as a bitmap, is an image made up of pixels.


A vector graphic showing editable handles, also known as bezier handles.
A vector graphic showing editable handles, also known as bezier handles.

What's the difference?

A vector is comprised of points. These points are plotted using mathematical formulas to perfectly make up an image—this means that no matter the size of the image, it will always be clear. Another benefit of a vector is that the entire image is completely editable—any of these points(nodes), and handles can be manipulated and still retain the crystal-clear image(see above).

A raster is comprised of pixels. These pixels are fixed at a certain size, so that when a raster is enlarged, the image can get blurry. Conversely, when the image shrinks, there is a loss of information that cannot be brought back.

One quick way(besides confirming the file type below) to see if you have a vector is to open the image and zoom in as far as you can. If you start to see noticeable blocks(pixels) or it starts to blur in areas, that's an indicator that you have a raster image. See the images below to compare.

What format do I need?

The following formats are possible vector formats:

  • .ai, .pdf, .svg, .eps

The following common formats are NOT possible vector formats:

  • .jpg, .png, .gif, .tif

Please take note that the possible vector formats are just that: possible vector formats. Just because the file ends in any of these extensions, doesn't necessarily mean it is a vector image. Unfortunately, opening a raster image, then immediately saving as one of these formats does not magically make that file editable, rather it embeds the raster image into this file, almost as if it's wearing a fake mustache.


No problem. If you're having trouble finding the correct file for your project, send us what you have, and our designers can work to create the artwork you had in mind. Feel free to reach out via any ways listed on our contact page or visit us in person to get started today. #VectorVsRaster 

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