Raster vs. Vector Graphics

Raster Graphics

Raster graphics are rendered as bitmaps, which are grids of hundreds of tiny pixels that collectively form an image. They display rich color detail and will be your best choice when working with photographs.

Raster graphics cannot be enlarged without losing quality and appearing blurry. This is because each is defined and displayed at a specific resolution, or DPI (you can learn more about this on our blog post here).

You can use Adobe Photoshop to create and edit raster files, which will typically have the extensions .jpeg, .psd, .png, .tiff, .bmp, or .gif.

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are made up of geometric shapes such as points, lines, and curves. Mathematical formulas are used to fill in color along these paths. They’re best used for fonts and logo designs.

Because they’re not dependent on resolution, vector graphics can be scaled up or down without losing quality. They’ll also create smaller file sizes. Some possible downsides are that they display limited color details and cannot handle effects such as blurring, drop shadows, etc.

Vector graphics are created and edited in Adobe Photoshop and will produce files with the extensions .eps, .ai, and .pdf.

to summarize ...


Good for: photographs
Software: Adobe Photoshop
Files: .jpeg, .psd, .png, .tiff, .bmp, .gif
Pros: rich color detail
Cons: blurry when enlarged; large file sizes


Good for: fonts, logos
Software: Adobe Illustrator
Files: .eps, .ai, .pdf
Pros: can be scaled up or down without losing quality; smaller file sizes; editable
Cons: limited color detail; limited effects