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Logo File Formats: Raster vs. Vector

Logo File Formats: Raster vs. Vector

12min read  

8 Feb 2019

The wide variety of image file formats makes it hard to pick the right one when you need to export or use your file. It’s so easy to get lost in the process especially when it comes to your logo.

When do you need a PNG logo? Where can you use your logo saved in SVG? And so many other questions that require answers. You simply need to understand the importance and usage of different image formats. Once you do it, you’ll never be in doubt of which format your logo needs to be saved in.

If you look at the image files, you can see different extensions such as JPG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, etc. These different formats are optimized for specific uses - for web or for printed materials. But all of them fall under two main categories: raster graphics and vector files.

 vector vs. raster

Source: TheWebGuy

In this article, we’ll find out the difference between raster and vector image file formats, their usage, and which are the most common logo file formats.

 

 

  1. Raster Graphics

Most of the graphics we see on the web fall under the raster graphics category. These images consist of a certain number of colored squares - pixels. Because of that exact number of pixels, these images look blurry and pixelated when they are stretched, they are not scalable.

The most common formats in this category are JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and PSD.

 

JPG file format

JPG (JPEG) - Joint Photographic Experts Group

JPG is a lossy raster format which is one of the most commonly used image file formats on the web. When the JPG file is compressed, the image loses some pixels and its quality. Besides, it doesn’t support transparency, so it’s not suitable for logos. These files are simple to code, compress, and store, this is why they are perfect as web images. They don’t take long to load due to their small file sizes.

 

PNG file format

PNG - Portable Network Graphics

The two main advantages of this format are supporting transparency and being lossless. Though they are raster files, they keep the high quality of the image after compression, but still, they become blurry after increasing the image size. This format is perfect for web images, icons, and logos where a transparent background is required but it’s not suitable for print materials.

 

GIF file format

GIF - Graphics Interchange Format

One of the characteristics of this format that stands out is its animated form. GIFs are widely used on the web for animated banners, ads, and memes. When other formats are compressed to a GIF file they lose the colors but it helps to reduce the image size.

 

 

  1. Vector File Formats

Vector files are flexible files which are made from lines and shapes instead of colored pixels. They are mathematical equations which makes them more scalable and easier to resize. Besides, they don’t lose their quality in the process. These files are mostly used for creating branding and print materials. Most commonly, these files are edited with Adobe Illustrator.

 

EPS file format

EPS - Encapsulated PostScript

EPS files are highly compatible vector files which can be used in many design editors. Besides, they can be edited and resized without any effects on quality. These files are considered as master files and are mostly used in graphic design and large-scale professional printing. Raster files can be saved as EPS files and behave as vectors. This format is also used for logos and other branding materials.

 

SVG file format

SVG - Scalable Vector Graphic

These vector files are mostly used for the web. SVG files can be scaled to any size without loss in quality like other vector files. Moreover, SVG files are XML-based, thus it’s possible to view them in browsers, with different devices, and software. This file format is used for print materials, website images and icons. It’s also recommended for logos.

 

AI file format

AI - Adobe Illustrator (.ai)

AI is created by Adobe for an easier file transfer within its software. AI is considered a raw vector file which is editable, flexible, and can be saved in any other file format - vector and raster files. Most of the designers use Adobe Illustrator to create different branding elements, logos, print materials, illustrations, and artwork from scratch.

 

 

  1. Logo File Formats

Where can you use your logo? There are sure many uses including your website, social profiles, visit cards, video intros, and so on. This is why it’s important to know which file format you need in specific cases. Otherwise, you can have pixelated and blurry banners or website images which take too long to load.

Let’s check some of the common terms and features of image file formats.

 

  • High/Low Resolution

When it comes to images, you might have heard these terms before because they are closely related to the image quality. When you deal with print materials, it’s important to consider the resolution of your image files which is measured by DPI - dots per square inch.

As you know, images consist of pixels, which contain the details of the image. The more pixels there are, the more details the image includes. So, the images with more pixels have higher resolution.

logo file format

Source: Yearbook

You may not see the difference between the images with high and low resolutions, but when you print them, it will be obvious. On the web, the images can be at low resolution (72 DPI), but for printed materials, they should be no less than 300 DPI. So, when you think about printing your logo, take its resolution into consideration.

 

  • Transparency

Another important feature to consider while choosing the logo format is transparency. As you’ve noticed, some image file formats support transparency which gives you an opportunity to place your logo on any kind of background.

raster vs vector

Some of the raster formats which support transparency are PNG and GIF. For vector files, transparency is defined differently, but technically most of them support it.

 

  • Lossy and Lossless Compression

When the images are compressed, different image file formats behave differently. And, when the file is decompressed, depending on the image format, some of the files can be fully restored, while others can’t. During the lossy compression, the original files lose some of the data is lost by significantly reducing in size.

The lossless compression reduces the image size while keeping the original quality. Some of the lossy image formats are JPEGs and GIFs. PNG, BMP, and Raw image formats are considered lossless.

 

  • Logo Size

Depending on how you’re going to use your logo, there are certain standard sizes. For your website, you can have your logo in the following sizes:

 

Favicons:

16×16

32×32

48×48

 

Horizontal:

250 x 150

350 x 75

400 x 100

 

Vertical:

160 x 160

 

The most common logo formats are PNG (raster format for web), EPS (for print materials), SVG. But again, depending on the usage, choose the format which has all the necessary features.

 

To Sum Up

Once you finish reading the article, you’ll have the basic knowledge about image file formats and what formats you can use for logos. Take into consideration the differences between the raster and vector files and their features to successfully choose the right format depending on your needs - for web or printing. It doesn’t matter whether you make your logo yourself or with the help of designers, you must always have the right files at hand.


With Renderforest logo maker you can create your logo and download it in PNG or SVG.

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