We get a lot of questions about the process of graphic design and file types that are used in those designs. Graphic design is a complicated process and there’s a lot of things to understand. One of our biggest questions is what is the difference between rasterized images and vector images? The importance of this question is huge because it will effect the scale and quality that your image can be printed at.
Rasterized images are made up of millions of little dots called pixels. When you look really close at your computer screen or your tv screen you’ll notice all the small dots of color that make up the image you’re looking at. A photograph is made up of gradient colors that make it look hyper realistic; that’s the whole point of taking a photograph, to make it look like real life. These gradients can be created by using millions of pixels that the eye blends together.
One of the biggest problems you’ll have with a rasterized image is that it’s size-specific. You can’t make the image larger than it’s saved as or was taken, otherwise you’ll lose quality. This is why when using a picture for print design you’ll want it to be high quality at 300 DPI (dots per inch) to ensure that it looks good in the finished product.
Rasterized images are usually saved as .tif, .jpeg, .gif, .pcx, and .bmp. They are the standard image for all digital formats and will be what you’d use to upload an image to your website or social media.
A vector image is an image made up of lines and paths to create an image. It uses a mathematical equation to be able to change the size to any size you could ever need, larger or smaller, so they aren’t size-specific. Because you aren’t limited to the size of the file you don’t have to have a specific resolution for these image. These types of images are usually artist creations and used for logos, lettering or artwork. Because you can’t get the same color gradients as rasterized images, you won’t be able to capture a hyper-realistic image using vector. One of the greatest traits of vector images however, aside from their scalability, is the fact that the file sizes are much smaller.
Vector image are usually saved as .ai, .eps, .cgm, .wmf, and .pict. They can’t be uploaded directly to your website or social media, you’ll have to export them or save them as a rasterized file type to use them online. However, having the original vector file is important so that you can give it to a designer to use in any marketing materials you’re having made.
When you’re working with Ink Monstr on a project feel free to ask us if the quality of your images will be high enough to provide the highest quality product. We often get photos that are of lower quality and we would rather let you choose an image that represents your company and is of great quality so that your marketing materials are the most successful. Quality is always our priority, so we’ll do what we can to work with you on creating the best products for your business.