Pixels Versus Math: The Battle for Image Quality

Why is this important?

Understanding this information is key in ensuring the quality of your brand identity and marketing materials by using the correct logo formats and having the appropriate files available for publishers and vendors.

Raster = Pixels

Raster or bitmap images store visual information in a grid of tiny colored pixels. Digital photographs are the most common forms of raster images, each photo a mosaic of colored boxes coming together to create the image. The benefit of raster is the HUGE RANGE of images that can be created, the downside is they have a fixed resolution and when scaled the pixels are simply made bigger. The bigger the pixels the more obvious the pixels become, causing the image to become ‘pixelated’ or blurry.

Raster Image

Vector = Mathematics

Vector graphics are resolution independent images comprised of individual scalable objects, lines, and shapes. Defined by mathematical formulas, rather than pixels, vectors can be easily enlarged without any deterioration of the image quality. A vector graphic could be one inch wide or 100 feet wide and it will maintain the same RAZOR SHARP quality.

Vector Image


  • What graphics should I keep a vector format of?
    Your LOGO! It cannot be stressed enough every organization should have a proper vector format of their logo for marketing materials.
  • Can my raster image be recreated into a vector?
    That depends on the image. If it is type, shapes, lines and fields of color than most likely, yes.
  • What computer programs can make vectors?
    Mainly, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, Corel Draw or a similar program is required to create a true vector graphic.
  • What file types support vectors?
    Adobe Illustrator (.AI), Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS), Portable Document Format (.PDF), and some other lesser known/used file types. Unfortunately, just because one of these file types is used it is not guaranteed that the graphic is a true vector.
  • How do I know if my graphic is a vector?
    To be absolutely sure you would need to open your file in a program that supports vectors like Adobe Illustrator. If your file is a JPG, GIF, or BMP you can be certain that your file is not a vector.

Using This Knowledge

  • Request a vector format of any logo graphics created. Label that file clearly and keep it for future use.
  • Supply printers, sign shops, ad designers, or other contractors creating marketing materials with a vector file of your organization’s logo.

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