What Is A Vector File?

by Kelly Thake on 16th December 2021

You’ve probably heard designers ask for “a vector version of your logo” a thousand times (sorry!), but what does that actually mean?

Most image types (JPEG, PNG, GIF) are raster images. This means that they are made up of lots of pixels that form an image. In their natural form, these images are high resolution. But when images are scaled up, the pixels simply stretch and distort to fill the space, which results in blurry (or pixelated) low-resolution images.

You may have heard of PPI (pixels per inch) – The effective PPI is a great indicator of the quality of your raster image and when it has been stretched too far. For example, if the original image was 10cm wide and 300PPI, but then you scaled the image up to 20cm wide, the effective PPI would drop to 150PPI as the pixels have stretched to fill the space. Therefore the lower the effective PPI number is, the lower quality your image will be.

Vector image files on the other hand (EPS, AI, PDF) work very differently. Instead of pixels, these images work by using proportional formulas, meaning that they can scale up to any size without pixelating and will always be a high-resolution file. This is why we designers prefer to have your logo in a vector format; because we know that we can use it at whatever size needed without risking the quality decreasing.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work to simply re-export your JPG or PNG as an EPS file, as the original file will still be made up of pixels. The best way to get hold of the vector version of your logo would be to contact the designers of your original logo and brand graphics, who will be able to supply you with the artwork in a vector format. You could also try contacting the company that printed your signage or embroidered your uniforms, as they may still have a vector version of your logo on file that they could send to you.

We hope this guide helps to explain more about vector files and how you can get hold of them. If you have no luck in finding your vector logo anywhere, get in touch and we may be able to help. We offer a brand refresh service and could help with redrawing your logo while aligning your brand at the same time. Contact us today for more information.

Kelly Thake

Written by Kelly Thake

Kelly is one of our Graphic Designers and is a lover of all things print and digital. With a BA in Graphic Design from Norwich University and qualifications in UX/UI design, wireframing and team management she leads our design and branding services. She considers ‘the idea’ to be the most important part of the design process, and enjoys using this ‘idea’ to stretch projects further and create a more coherent outcome. Outside of work, Kelly is very active; climbing, swimming and playing badminton most weeks. Luckily we know that we can keep her still at work with a packet of ginger nuts and a milky hot chocolate.

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