Difference between a Raster and Vector

What difference between a raster and vector image is? A question often asked by any newbie web designer or graphic designer. It is one of the basic elements of any design and the difference should be clear before you get yourself started with any kind of designing. Let us solve out the problem and discuss Raster and Vector.

Let us solve out the problem and discuss a Raster and aVector.

In this article we shall discuss;

  • Difference between raster and vector images,
  • Pros and cons of raster and vector images,
  • Which one of the two, raster or vector should be preferred the most while designing,
  • And lastly a summary of raster and vector for a quick look.

Let’s get started!

The difference between a Raster and Vector Image:

difference between raster and a vector

Source: vectorconversions

A raster image is made of dots or pixels and or of different colors that are generally arranged to form an image. On the other hand, a vector is made up of paths; each path has a mathematical formula or an equation that tells the path, what colors are filled in it or what outline it has. This can be called as the basic definition of Raster and Vector.

The major difference between raster and vector is that because of the fact that vectors are not made up of pixels they do not suffer from pixelation even if they are stretched to the maximum size. While if we talk about raster, they suffer high pixelation as that they are made of definite pixels and when they are stretched they undergo a loss of quality.

Generally, photographs are raster images (jpg, gif, jpeg etc) and are also called bitmap images. These are resolution dependent. Vector images are generally used for making logos; if one stretches the logo it will not pixelate.

Pros and cons of raster and vector images:

  • Raster images exhibit a variety of colors in a single image and these colors can be edited more than that of vector images.
  • Raster images display smooth transition of colors in light and dark shades at perfect resolutions.
  • Vector images are scalable, unlike raster images.
  • The same vector can be infinitely scaled and can be stretched for any size applications or purposes.
  • Raster images are made of pixels and hence are not scalable.
  • Rasters lose quality when stretched beyond a particular size.
  • Raster can display photos very nicely but vectors cannot.
  • Raster images are generally very heavy files while vectors are quite lightweight.
  • Vectors when printed exhibit high-resolution quality, unlike raster images.

Which one of the two, raster or vector should be preferred the most while designing?

If you are dealing with a design that has photographic elements requiring a good blend of colors and should show a smooth flow then you should choose to go with a program that produces a raster. One such program is Adobe Photoshop, where you can manipulate an image as per your desire and add effects, adjust the tones etc.

Difference between raster and vector

A Raster Image

It totally depends on what design you are making that helps you determine whether to go for a raster or vector.

Now, if you are designing a logo for any company, even if it has some photographic elements, you should always go with a program that can generate a vector. Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw are two programs that can help you create impeccable vectors.

Difference between raster and vector

A Vector Image

A summary of raster and vector:



Made of pixels or dots Made of paths and mathematical equations
Best used for editing photos and creating images with smooth transitions and color blends Best used for creating logos, drawings, and illustrations, technical drawings
A raster cannot be scaled to any size without losing quality of the image A Vector can be scaled to any size without losing quality of the image
Heavyweight file Lightweight file
Raster to vector conversion is cumbersome Can be easily converted to raster
Raster format commonly are jpg, gif, png, tiff, BMP, PSD, eps and pdfs originating from raster programs Vector format commonly are: ai, cdr, SVG, and eps & pdfs originating from vector programs
Common raster program(s): Adobe Photoshop Common vector programs: Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw


Raster is like painting with a brush, you dip it in a color and you paint a painting where you can blend and mix colors as per your wish, soften the colors and make swift and smooth transitions between two colors.

Vector, on the other hand, is like drawing an outline of any shape. It may be an eye shape, square shape, or any. These shapes display one color at a time. There is no such smooth transition and that colors are quite distinctly visible.

Hope now the difference between a raster and vector would be quite clear to you! Also, read our previous article on ‘Tips for Creating a Logo in Adobe Illustrator’.

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