The difference between a Bitmap image and a vector

Vector files and bitmap images are very different and many people still have doubts about how exactly it works. So, my job here is to teach you about the differences and get rid of those doubts once and for all.

Bitmap (or raster) images are stored as a series of dots called pixels. Each pixel is a tiny square that is assigned a color, with all these pixels together we get a complete image. When we zoom in in a bitmap image we can perfectly see the individual pixels. So, the problem here is: every data of the image is already closed, we already have a color, format, DPI, arrangements, etc… So you can’t edit so easy, let’s’ say you have a JPG/PNG logo with 20x20cm and need to apply in an outdoor with 900x300cm, once you try to enlarge your logo everything will blur. In this case, you will definitely need a vector file. Or if you just need to remove elements, or change colors of your JPG/PNG image? You will need to use photoshop and besides all the work still will not be 100%.

 So the solution is have a large image like 900x900cm and be/have an expert in Photoshop, right? Not so quite right, first because an image in this size has two problems: very (very) large image (MB, GB, etc..) and you need a great computer to be able to edit. And second, it will take so much time to edit in Photoshop that just doesn’t worth

Vector files, unlike bitmaps, are not based on pixels, but instead, use mathematical formulas to draw lines and curves that can be combined to create an image from geometric objects. The vector files can be zoom 10000% and will be still the same, which is the maximum quality of a file. Also, you can edit, remove, change, add, etc… any element without losing the quality or compromise the work.

Photoshop edition looks good, right? NOT! See a little closer:

The change of colors in the vector file is perfect, but doing the same edit in the bitmap file you can see that it is not 100%.

Now, try to imagine your brand in PNG 500x500px being print in some product and you realize that is a blur, low quality and not visible enough, yeah it will be terrible to your brand. But with a vector file, you don’t take these risks.

Bitmaps are great for photography, post on the web, photo manipulation, or to send to a print shop for a simple print. The two most popular image formats used are PNG and JPEG (the difference between these two you can read here). And vector is great for special prints, logos, types, solid images, brand, small and large prints, etc… The most common vector files are EPS, SVG, and PDF. But if you have an editable PDF,  Ai, Affinity Designer or Corel Draw file that means you have the Source File in other words: The original place where your file was created.

Well, I hope I could help you to understand the difference between bitmaps and vector file, never forget to ask your designer to include a vector or a source file. And if you are looking for some designer let’s talk!

 See ya!