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What are vector graphics, and why should your brand use them?

If your business has a certain graphic — like a logo, banner or button — you would like to reuse in a larger form, you could easily feel frustrated when attempting to resize the image. That’s because it could end up losing definition in the transition to a bigger size.

That’s what can happen when you enlarge what is known as a ‘raster’ image. You might not be familiar with this term — or, indeed, that of ‘vector’, the alternative kind of graphic that lends itself much better to resizing. So, why exactly are vector graphics more promising?

What are ‘vectors’ and ‘rasters’?

Even if you have never heard of a raster before, you have probably used one, as many of the most well-known graphics file formats — including JPEG and PNG — are used for, yes, rasters.

While vectors are less mainstream than rasters, the former can prove much more valuable to brands — especially those active with both online and in-person promotional channels. File formats in which vectors can be saved include EPS, AI and SVG.

The technical side of vectors 

Strap yourself in for some technical language — but don’t worry, it won’t take up too much of this article. Vector graphics are images comprising such mathematically-defined points as lines and curves — and can be augmented with colours, textures and layers to look 3D.

When saved on some kind of digital storage drive, like a solid-state drive (SSD) or cloud drive, a vector will be saved not strictly as an image but instead as a set of commands that, when acted upon by a computer, lead this image to be recreated.

You could see these commands as the ‘bones’ that make up the vector’s ‘skeleton’ — one that can be easily scaled up or down to allow for a larger or smaller version of the same image that won’t be compromised in visual quality as a result of the change.

Vectors offer a range of practical benefits

If you are eager to establish consistent visual branding for your business, vector graphics have a definite role to play. You could take any one vector image and speedily reproduce it in various sizes for use across a range of publicity materials.

So, while your logo might only need to be thumbnail size on a business card, it obviously stands to reason that the same logo will have to be significantly blown up for display on a billboard — as, otherwise, many people would barely be capable of discerning that logo from a distance.

From that distance, though, people would still be able to make out any suspiciously chunky pixels — the kind that you tend to see if you expand the size of a raster image. Fortunately, while rasters indeed store pixels, vectors leave them entirely out of the equation.

This, in turn, means that vectors are also smaller in file size, and so not only load faster than rasters but also occupy less storage space on a computer or in the cloud. Our graphic designers can make you vectors to your bespoke specifications.

What are vector graphics, and why should your brand use them?
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