What is a vector image?

Vector images:
  • are made of mathematically controlled curves and lines
  • scale to any size without losing quality – always sharp
  • made in programs like Adobe Illustrator
  • file types include .ai .eps .svg .pdf*
  • good for logos
Bitmap images:
  •  are made of pixels
  • only sharp at the resolution they are created and even then usually some aliasing (blurring) to hide pixels
  • can’t be scaled up or down without blurring
  • made in programs like Photoshop
  • file types are vast but include .jpg .tif .psd .bmp .jpeg .png .pdf*
  • good for photos
*File formats:
  • .pdf can contain both Bitmap or Vector files. They are an ideal format for Vector images because they allow you to see the file content without having to own software such as Adobe Illustrator.
  • .ai is the native format for Adobe Illustrator. .ai files can be embedded in .pdf files and is the recommended format for vector images.
  • .eps is a very old and outdated format that should not be used unless sending to someone with old software.
  • .svg is a website friendly vector format supported by most browsers – it is very powerful and as such includes risks if coming from an unknown source. It can include animation and special effects.