There’s a difference between logos made as a vector logo vs raster logo (bitmap) and many aren’t aware of it! As graphic artist and graphic designer who’s been hired to design a character logo & mascot logos for a customer, my top goal is always to create a logo that can be used not just for today, but for any future product, merchandise, or purpose you might not be aware of yet. Part of that goal is the design, but the other portion is how the design is formatted.
So it is important that you know how to identify a vector logo vs. raster logos. You need to understand what benefits and challenges you might face and how you can prevent any problems which may arise in the future, because how your logo is created today will directly influence your ability to use it tomorrow. So when you do it once, you must make sure you get it done right the first time.
So how do we know what graphic format will be the best for your logo?
And how can we tell the difference between a vector logo vs a raster logo?
How to identify a raster graphic logo?
One of the quickest ways to pinpoint if an asset or image is a vector logo vs raster is by doing a simple check of the file types, files such as jpeg, bmp (bitmap), gif, png are clear indications that the graphics format is non-vector.
But don’t start auditing all of your files because you believe it will be a tell-tale method of how your file was rendered. It’s a quick strategy, but it is not 100% , since a raster and a vector image can be saved with some of the same file extensions.
So the best way you can analyze your picture will be to open the file in an image viewer and zoom in to examine the edges of the logo, and that will reveal if it is a vector or a raster.
As you can see, an image that is built upon a pixel canvas or a square-based grid begins to ‘pixelate’ when you scale it, so you’re placing a ceiling on how flexible you can be with the reproduction of your brand’s logo.
Although raster graphics do not allow for smooth edges and clean curves like you’ll find in a design that was constructed in vector format, raster graphics do have a seat at the table. The seat is designated for anyone who isnt interested in things like scalability, mass distribution, and replication of the art work. I’ve worked with clients who just wanted a character logo for a single purpose:
- Ecommerce store icons and assets
- Advertising and Promotional event
- Social media marketing ad campaigns
- Youtube or video channel graphics illustrations
- Graphic designs for a bloggers and business websites
- Cartoonize portraits for a blog or company pages
The differences between vector logo vs raster logo?
As I pointed out in the meaning of a graphic artist vs graphic designer, a vector format is produced using a mathematical algorithm composed of units known as nodes or vectors. The difference between a vector and a raster is dictated by the rendering graphics or software you’re using for your logo, the most prominent softwares include Photoshop (raster), Illustrator (vector), Indesign (vector). An image formatted in raster will generate on pixel-based grids which offers very limited scalability due to pixel distortion, but an image in vector format will be made in a coordinate work space using lines and paths that will allow for smooth edges and infinite scalability.
So when comparing the edges, it is very clear which graphic format will work best for your logo in the long term: Vector
You have a raster logo already, but you need it in vector?
So now that we know a vector format should be the end goal whenever you are creating any type of asset or logo for your brand’s identity. What if you simply don’t have a logo that has gone through the vectorization process? What if you need a way to convert your raster logo to a vector logo? Well it’s a problem I’ve solved for many clients before. Let me know if any of the following scenarios sound familiar…
Scenario 1: You had a logo designed and you were delivered a raster version of your brand logo in a jpg, pdf, png, psd, or tiff file format. You were happy with what you had and even used it on your website, blog, social accounts, and shared it with a few friends.
Later on, you decided that you’d like to start marketing your business and stamping your brand on all sorts of products and merchandise. You’d like to see your logo on t-shirts, brochures, mailers, posters, or any other form of product and merchandise. However, after a few phone calls you kept hearing about this thing called ‘Vector Conversion…’
And you ask yourself…what the hell is vector conversion?!
Scenario 2: Your final logo files were delivered to you and you were ready to just simply walk into a printer, hand over those final deliverables, and kick back as they start pressing massive quantities of your awesome logo on anything that can hold the stain of drying ink: fashion apparel, books, cards, posters, signs, and more.
But you talked with your local printing company, they informed you that the logo you have in your possession is in an improper format…a raster format. Yikes!
Both Scenarios have solutions, and here they are.
2 ways to convert your raster logo into a vector?
1. Vector Conversion.
You could ask for the printing company to convert it into a vector. But keep in mind, if your working with a raster file like a jpg or a png, the print company is not working on a native vector file. So when they try to run it through a conversion program, it will try to read your raster image and recreate the rows of pixels into vector paths. In other words, the app will attempt to estimate or guess the linework and render all the attributes of your image.
That’s right. one. big. GUESS.
And because all of the best conversion applications can only guess your image, I have seen some pretty alarming drops in quality. If you do a raster to vector conversion of your design, you can expect to lose 20% to 40% of your logo’s shape, form clarity, and sleek line quality of the logo.
In other words, you will be looking at a distorted and sometimes muddy looking version of your favorite logo. I’ve found the majority of people and businesses simply aren’t aware of the distortion issues on their branding items, and one of the best pleasures of being a designer is to help people fix these problems and create excellent brand designs.
If you are looking to represent yourself and the identity of your business, whether it is on a 3.5 x 2-inch business card or a 14 x 48 feet billboard poster. Trust me, people do pay attention to small blocks youre using to build the brand of your company or you as an indvidual, things like the neatness, presentation, and professional quality of your logo do matter, and people will notice.
2. Hire a Graphic Artist.
Your best option will be to request a quote from a graphic artist to recreate your raster logo using vector graphics. Your logo will be redrawn directly in the best vector application that will give you everything you need to use your logo for any and all purposes. As a vector file your logo design will have infinite scalability, meaning you can scale it down as small as you desire, maybe to print onto business cards, stickers, magnets, or other accessories. Or you can scale it up to as big as you want, as big as a billboard design or engrave it on the side of a mountain! Each can be done without losing any image quality, so you will maintain all clean lines, smooth curves, and sleek edges.
The first option of vector conversion might seem the most attractive and easier on the pocketbook, but in the long run, what won’t cost you in dollars today, may cost you in branding and reputation tomorrow.
Contact me if you have any questions or interested in getting started with a new character logo or brand identity project.