What is a Vector vs. a Raster Image?

If you’ve ever heard the terms “vector graphics” and “raster graphics but didn’t know what those things meant, or if you’ve ever wondered what makes pictures get grainy and pixelated when you zoom in, then this video is for you.


Vector graphics and raster graphics are two basic types of digital images you see every day.

Do you know the difference between the two?


Ok. Let’s look closer.

Look at these two cupcakes.

The one on the left is a vector image, and the one on the right is a raster image.

Let’s see what happens when we zoom in.

The vector cupcake looks clear and undistorted because it’s made up of points, lines, curves and basic shapes.

These elements are calculated for every level of scale, so the image quality stays the same regardless of size.

The raster cupcake is grainy and distorted, because it’s made up of a bunch of small units called pixels.

Zooming in makes the pixels a lot more obvious.

Vector images are generally less detailed, because they’re composed of basic elements.

Vector image file sizes are relatively small, because they contain just the mathematical instructions for creating the image, not the actual visual elements themselves.

In a raster image, the more pixels there are, the greater the level of possible detail, but, more pixels also results in larger file sizes.

Designs such as logos signage are typically vector images, because large scaling is often necessary for printing.

Images with a high level of realism and detail, such as photos and digital paintings, tend to be raster images.

Finally, these are some common file types for each kind of image:


… And vector: AI, PDF, EPS, SVG.

Get in touch with Flikli to learn more about which style is right for you.