Different Image formats explained

So you’ve gone ahead and starting building your brand, congratulations! You’ve got yourself a logo, some additional supporting graphics and some photography taken for the business. You’ve been given some files, such as .jpg and .pdf, that you’re familiar with but there are others like .eps, .gif, .ai and .svg that you don’t know how to use.

Don’t let all the techy acronyms get you down, we’ll explain what they are and how you use them.

What is a Ras­ter Graphic?

A ras­ter graphic is any image that uses pixels (tiny squares each cap­able of stor­ing col­our value and transparency) to col­lect­ively make up an image.

For example if you were to zoom right in to a photo that you’ve taken with your camera you will be able to see those individual squares bunched up next to each.

The most popular raster graphics are saved as a .jpg format, but they could be .tif, .bmp, .png and .gif.

Res­ol­u­tion

Suitable print-ready ras­ter graph­ics depend on the image hav­ing a high res­ol­u­tion, which is coun­ted in dpi (dots per inch). The lower the res­ol­u­tion the smal­ler the file size, which is necessary to keep website speed time at a minimum.

Low-resolution ras­ter graph­ics are generally 72 dpi and are used for the web and on screen present­a­tions (powerpoint for example). High-resolution ras­ter graph­ics are generally 300 dpi which is standard for the majority of print ready files. However, depending on the size of the artwork, this file resolution can be reduced for larger items – often signage.

What is a Vec­tor Graphic?

A Vec­tor graphic uses scalable paths from one point to the next to make create a shape, or image. Depending on complexity of these paths the outcome can be anything from a simple illustration, logos, maps or intricate infographics.

Similarly to the raster pixels, vec­tor paths have indi­vidual prop­er­ties assigned to them such as col­our, transparency, and outline. However when you zoom in to any vector graphics you won’t get any ‘blockiness’, associated with raster graphics, as the image is reproduced as the scalable path.

The most popular vector graphics are saved as a .eps format, but they could also be saved as .svg, .ai (Adobe Illustrator) or as a .pdf file.

Res­ol­u­tion

Vec­tor graph­ics technically don’t have a ‘res­ol­u­tion’, as they don’t have a .dpi they are not high or low resolution. As a result, vec­tor graphics can be increased to the size of a large bill­board and reduced to the size of a thumbnail all from the same file.

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