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The Difference Between 'Raster' and 'Vector'

Updated: Oct 11, 2023


As a small business owner you may find yourself responsible for everything from ordering merchandise to creating social media posts. Knowing the right file type to use for each will make your life a lot easier.


Raster and Vector art are two terms you may hear thrown around, so what's the difference?


Vector

Vector art is made up of lines, shapes, and curves that are defined by a set of coordinates and created using mathematical algorithms. This type of art is resolution-independent, which means that it can be resized without losing quality. You could literally stretch it as large as a skyscraper and it would still look crisp and high-res. Vector art is often used for logos, icons, and other graphics that need to be resized without losing detail.


Common Vector File Formats

  • .eps

  • .ai

  • .svg


Raster

Raster art, on the other hand, is made up of pixels, which are tiny squares of colour that form an image when viewed together. Because raster art is made up of a fixed number of pixels, it is resolution-dependent, which means that it can become blurry or pixelated when it is resized. Raster art is often used for photographs and other images that have a high level of detail or complex shading.


Common Raster File Formats

  • .jpeg

  • .png

  • .tiff

  • .gif




How do I know which file type to send?

Examples of situations when you would use vector art (.eps/.ai/.svg)

  • Ordering merchandise with your logo (.eps/.ai)

  • Printing a design on your Cricut/Cameo (.svg)

  • To provide to your graphic designer to use in designs

  • To create a stitching file Note: Use your vector logo file wherever you create designs to ensure you have the best possible resolution.

Examples of situations when you would use raster art (.jpeg/.png etc.)

  • Imagery on your website (.jpeg/.png - web resolution)

  • Printing a photograph/photo/poster album etc (.jpeg)

  • Digital art files

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