Have you ever spoken with a designer and they start mentioning these strange terms like “raster” and “vector?” Here are some definitions and explanations to help you understand the differences!
The words Raster and Vector are official terms for different types of file formats that are used in graphic design work.
Raster graphics are most commonly a .jpg or .gif file. You can also think of them as images or pictures. These files are made of pixels with each pixel being a color and collectively they create an image. You have probably noticed when you download something from the web and try to use it in a print document for artwork; it comes out fuzzy or jagged. This is due to the original file being sized to be smaller so when you alter that size it makes the pixels expand and you lose the integrity of the image as the image has a set resolution. With raster graphics, you want to have the image size at a high resolution setting and save it at the size you are going to use it at. Otherwise you get the fuzzy image. You can take a raster graphic and make it smaller but we would not recommend making it larger!
Vector graphics are most commonly .eps or Abobe Illustrator files. These are usually the files that work best with text and shapes. Instead of pixels, they are made of paths, or lines, that can be either straight or curved. With vector graphics you can resize the original graphic file as big or small as you wish because vector uses math to describe an image. The advantage of having math define the shape is that it has no set resolution and will automatically print at the highest available resolution supported. This allows a vector graphic to keep a crisp resolution regardless of size and it is completely editable. A vector image is the best option to go with when designing your logo. A vector can be set at any size/resolution making it perfect for ANY use (online, all print, 3d standoffs, etc.).
High vs low resolution is based on how many pixels/dots per inch (ppi, dpi). For example low resolution would be 72 pixels per inch, suitable for online/web use. High resolution would be 100dpi/ppi, suitable for large format printing. Whereas resolution set at 300dpi/ppi would be suitable for standard print (ie. business cards, brochures, postcards, etc.).
With Raster and Vector graphics defined, here is how they can complement each other: When designing a larger portable exhibit or modular exhibit, use a large, high resolution graphic image (raster) and combine it with your company logo in an .eps file (vector) and TADAH! You have a large, printable graphic that is clean, crisp and will represent your company well!
Contact an EXHIB-IT! Trade Show Marketing Professional today to set up a free consultation or to request a quote.
Thank you to Ink Java for use of the Vector Image.