An identifiable logo is highly important and valuable to the everyday business, but how many of us know the definition of a vector logo? The visual representation of your logo portrays your company’s personality and brand. While helping people recognize your company. With so much resting on the shoulders of your logo, it’s vital that it traverses the world in the proper type of file so it can maintain it’s clarity and usability.
1. What Makes it a Vector Logo?
A vector file can typically be described as a small, scalable, and editable image that provides designers infinite freedom when it comes to graphic design and illustration. As such, vector images are ideal for graphics such as company logos, banner ads, and other design images that often require scaling.
Vector images are made up of numerous individual, scalable objects, each defined by a mathematical equation. A series of geometric shapes are created by these equations, rather than pixels, rendering a non-resolution dependent image. This gives your designer the ability to resize your without the loss of image quality. This is incredibly valuable since your logo will need to be clear and visually appealing in many different places and contexts.
Take the ACC football league for example. When they updated to their most recent logo, it had to be clearly placed on websites, email signatures, stickers, players’ uniforms, fields, advertisements, merchandise, you name it. Having a vector logo makes this process more efficient and effective.
It is common practice for graphic designers to use vector-based images as the starting point for any new graphic design project, such as logos. However, since you cannot scan a drawing or image and save it as is, a vector graphic designer must create them from scratch by using high-end drawing software such Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Freehand, Sketch, Affinity Designer, Inkscape, and CorelDRAW just to name a few. If your graphic designer ever sends you a logo file or any other image with the following file extensions: .EPS, .AI, .CDR, .SVG or .SWF, then your logo is in vector format.
2. Raster vs. Vector: What’s the Difference?
In case you’re wondering, the opposite of a vector file is a raster file. In simple terms, any photograph, like the one you take using your phone or an image from the web is a raster file, and based on the size that it is currently, you are restricted in making that file any larger without losing quality. Basically, rasterized images are comprised of pixels, if you zoom into a raster image using Photoshop or other editing software you will see these pixels very clearly. These pixels are considered an image’s resolution. For example a resolution of 72 dpi (dots per inch) means that image has 72 pixels for every inch.
Comparatively a 300 dpi image has 300 pixels in that same space. Don’t be fooled by this though, because the actual image size might still be very large on the one image, and very small on the other. Either way, a vector file can be enlarged infinitely without any quality loss. All vector files can be rasterized, but rasterized images cannot be vectorized. I know this might sound confusing, but if you think about it this way, it might make sense; graphic files that are physically created in a vector-based software, such as Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, or Corel Draw just to name a few, are vector files (ai, eps, svg and pdf), but can be exported as raster files (png, eps, pdf, tiff, gif, jpg, bmp, and psd.) You might have noticed that some of those formats are in both vector and the raster list. That’s because those rasterized formats (eps and pdf) can be saved as such, but to be vector they must have been created and saved from a vector-based program.
3. Raster vs. Vector: When to Use Which?
Okay, so hopefully the difference between a vector file and a rasterized image is now more clear, but when should you use a vector file rather than using a rasterized image? The advantage of using a vector image is that you can scale it infinitely so, for instance, if you have a project that requires various size options, this is when a vector file will come in handy. Some of this is also preference, if I am using a logo that is a vector file, I’ll export it as a png, gif, or other format to be used on the internet. It’s important to always still save that original vector file though in case you ever need it for a larger use, such as a billboard or vehicle graphic. Clearly I can’t describe every single use, but hopefully you get the gist. The bottom line is this; once you rasterize a file or image, you are forever restricted as to how large you can make that file, based on the image size and file resolution. In contrast, a vector file can use used for all applications big or small without the concern of quality loss.
4. The Importance of Usability Can’t Be Understated
A logo is more than just ink slapped on a piece of paper. A logo is the foundation of your company’s image. It is the reflection of your business, meant to set your company apart from your competition and leave an impression on your customers. That’s a very important role given that we are visual beings with the ability to compute and process visual cues and stimuli in a matter of milliseconds. Logos have to pass an eye test. Is it appealing? Does the logo represent a company I want to use? If your logo doesn’t pass the eye test as a result of being too blurry after scaling, for example, potential consumers, users, subscribers, or clients will glance over it without a second thought and move on to the next one.
Think about Google, IBM, and Yahoo. These companies are deep-rooted, modern organizations that are exponentially larger than ACC even. The ability to easily distribute their logo across different platforms in varying sizes is a necessary element for protecting and promoting their brand. Corners can’t be cut when it comes to managing your professional appearance.
So, why would you want to work with a designer who does not create logos or other images in vector format? The answer is you don’t. If the designer is limited to what he can do with the design of your image, then so are you.
That is why our team of graphic designers at TheeDigital in Raleigh, NC can help. We have a complete understanding of what a logo’s business function is and the power that it should convey. We utilize all the right tools that give us the ability to design your vision.