When it comes to designing logos, your graphic designer may provide you with samples in both a ‘Vector’ and ‘Raster’ format. So what’s the difference between a vector logo and a raster logo? In this article, we attempt to explain exactly that and also highlight each of their pros and cons.
Vector files such as PDF, AI, and EPS render an image using complex mathematical algorithms of points and lines. Since the rendered image or logo is not pixel-based, the biggest advantage a vector format offers is that the said image can be infinitely scaled without it losing its quality or having changes to its file size. They are also easier to export; being very easy to transform into other formats. Furthermore, since images are defined by mathematical calculations instead of pixels, vector files also generally tend to be smaller in size than their raster counterparts.
While this would make vector sound like objectively the better logo format to choose, there are some limitations that restrict its usage. One is the complex images such as photographs can be very hard to vectorize and the result can often be unsatisfactory. Another is that the rendering process gets slower and uses more memory the more data you have. In the case of more complex images, it may even take hours for it to render to print size.
Most people are quite familiar with raster formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Images and logos in this format are pixel-based and hence, have limitations to how much you can scale them before you see a noticeable decline in quality. Additionally, changing a file from a raster format to another one can be a very tricky process.
Designing images and logos in the raster does have its advantages. The most important is that rendering and manipulating images are both faster and easier. Working in the raster format is also more intuitive as it approximates how real-world mediums work. And, unlike vector, you don’t require dedicated software for producing logos and images in raster.
Which is Best for Designing Logos?
Since logos tend to be relatively simple images and a high degree of flexibility is required while working on them or employing them for use in other formats, going with vector is arguably the better choice.