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What is the Difference between a Vector or Raster File ?

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Vector image/s OR. Raster image/s

Digital image files, categorized as one of two types: raster or vector. The main difference is how the image is built, that is either from pixels (raster) or a mathematical grid (vector)

Vector File Image

Vector files use mathematical equations, lines, and curves with fixed points on a grid to produce an image. There are no pixels in a vector file. A vector file’s mathematical formulas capture shape, border, and fill color to build an image. Because the mathematical formula recalibrates to any size, a vector image can be scaled up or down without impacting its quality.

Use: Because the resolution of vectors remains the same when resized, this makes them suitable for a wide variety of printed formats.

Some projects combine both raster and vector images. For example, a brochure may use vector graphics for the company logo but raster files for photography.

Raster File Image

Raster file is created by pixels which is/are tiny, individual colored dots that form the details of images or photos. The higher number of pixels an image has, the better the quality of the image. These type of files are well-suited for product photography because of their high quality and workability. They are flexible to edit and manipulate as the pixels themselves can be edited. However, the disadvantage to this file type is that when resizing the resolution can be affected and cause pixilation and blurriness.

Use: Digital uses are usually raster files for example the images you see online are often raster. They are also are commonly used for editing images, photos, and graphics.

File Extensions

Vector File Types

File Type


Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)


​Encapsulated PostScript File (EPS)


Raster File Types

File Type


Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)


Portable Network Graphics (PNG)


Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)