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Graphic Formats: Part I


In my previous post on working with a graphic designer to develop your logo, I mentioned that you should know what the different image file formats are. Have you ever wondered what the heck the different image file formats mean? When do you use which version? In my next few blog posts, I will go over some image file basics, but I will start with the differences between Vector and Raster graphics.

Vector Graphics

Vector images are created mathematically by using formulas to create an image that can be enlarged or reduced without loss of image quality. Your logo should be initially created as a vector image, and you should have a copy of the original file even if you cannot open it. The programs to create vector files, such as Adobe Illustrator, may not be available to you, but at some point you may need to make a change to the file, and most designers can use this file to make those changes.

The file shown here represents a vector graphic. You can enlarge the image yet the edges will remain smooth, not pixelated.

Raster Graphics

Raster images, sometimes called bitmap images, are comprised of a grid of pixels. Examples of raster file types are JPEGs, PNGs, and GIFs. These are more common, yet they become fuzzy or pixelated when enlarged. They can also have more or fewer pixels per inch (technically referred to as PPI or DPI). 72 DPI is typically referred to as a low-resolution image and is more commonly used in digital/web formats. 72 DPI images do not work well in print formats. Instead 300 DPI resolution is best for print and is considered high resolution.

The logo image shown here is a low-resolution image (72 DPI) zoomed in at over 1000%. You can see the pixelation.

Next up, I will go into the differences between different image formats and their uses. Stay tuned or subscribe.