What is a vector file and why do I keep harping on about it?
When I ask clients for a vector file of their logo, I am often presented with a ‘huh?’, especially if the logo was produced years ago by a friend of a friend or using software such as Photoshop. Understandable as it’s not something you would need to know unless you work with graphics on a daily basis.
So what is a Vector graphic and why should your logo be in this format? Unlike raster graphics such as JPEGs or GIFs, which use pixels (little dots) to define areas of image information, vector files use a series of paths to define the image. This means that vector graphics provide complete flexibility for manipulation of the image file.
The major benefit of having a vector file means that it can be scaled and resized and will remain smooth at the edges. When you resize raster graphics (JPEGs and GIFs) they can appear more pixilated when sized up or down. I’m sure you have tried doing it with your image editing software. When you make a logo bigger or smaller, the whole images becomes slightly blurred and you lose the sharp edges. The example above shows the clear differences between vector and raster.
Vector images can be used in artwork to make images small enough for use on business cards and made big enough for vinyl banners and large scale posters without losing any of the image quality.
With a vector file, you can output the artwork into any file format (JPEG, GIF, PNG etc.), any colour profile (CMYK, RGB) and any size (pixels or DPI) without compromising on quality. Consider a vector file as a ‘master’ from which all other image types can be created.
When producing print material, it is vital that vector logos are used to ensure a polished professional look. There is nothing worse than a blurred looking washed-out logo on printed or online marketing material.
When you commission any logo, branding or non-photographic work make sure you ask for the vector file version. Needless to say, when you commission a logo from me, I provide you with a vector of your logo as well as the JPEG, GIF and PNG formats for use in print and online. This means that you are completely covered in terms of the formats for any eventuality.
I also provide a ‘re-drawing logo service’ which basically means I will recreate your logo as a vector file for people who don’t currently have a high enough quality version of their logo.
Vector files can be opened using using software such as Illustrator and CorelDraw. A universal method of saving vector images is by using the .EPS (encapsulated postscript) format, which can be opened and edited using any vector-rendering software.
I hope the above sheds some light on why it’s important to have the right file format for the right job.
My next post will cover the differences between print and online colour profiles and what the differences are between CMYK and RGB and its different uses. I’ll also try and cover the infamous DPI and pixel subject.