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Vector or Raster = Huh?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 by Michelle B.

You’ve received a request for a vector logo file from the Content Bureau’s graphic designer. If you’re confused about what that means, and about the difference between image file types, you’re not alone. Let’s chat about these two image file types—vector and raster—and discuss how each is used for various marketing collateral.

Vector is on the left. Raster is on the right.

Vector is on the left. Raster is on the right.

Vector Files

Vector files are constructed using mathematical formulas rather than pixels, with typical file types being EPS, AI (Adobe Illustrator), and PDF. Note that saving a JPG image of a logo as a PDF won’t turn it into a vector file—good try, though! Vector logo files are typically saved with a transparent background. Your company logo will most likely have been created as a vector file, and will exist somewhere as an AI or EPS file—possibly even an AIT (Adobe Illustrator Template) or CDR (CorelDRAW), although those are much less common.

Vector files allow for editing, if needed, and, most importantly, for scaling. A vector file can be scaled to virtually any size necessary for a project, from the very large to the very small. This is extremely beneficial when creating graphics for print, tradeshows, or physical applications, such as truck wraps or outdoor signage.

Raster Files

A raster image is created using individually colored pixels (hundreds, thousands, or millions of them) to form a complete image. JPEGs, GIFs, and PNGs are common raster image types. All of those pixels allows for an amazing color range that can be extremely difficult to achieve with vector graphics.

Since a raster image is created using a fixed number of colored pixels, it can’t be resized without compromising its resolution, and can look grainy or pixelated. Rasterized graphics must be saved at precisely the dimensions needed to view at a 1:1 resolution to alleviate possible issues, and they’re difficult to edit or make changes to. Most photographic images are raster, and often logos are shared as PNG, JPG, or GIF files. They are commonly used for web graphics, and are easily imported into software programs like Word and Excel.

Raster logo files aren’t “bad” files, but often these files are sized too small (for easy electronic transfer) and have a solid, not transparent, background, making them difficult to use. That’s why your graphic designer asks for, and truly needs, a vector file of your company logo. Knowing these basics about file types will ensure better communication between you and your designer—and keep your project on schedule!

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Be a Superstar Reviewer: Four Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Copywriter

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by Ruth Burk

All marketing managers want to get the most from their copywriting budgets. When you hire the Content Bureau, we’ll typically ask you to review up to three drafts of copy. Is there a right way to review B2B copy? Absolutely! For best results, make your feedback the following: Timely. Just like a box of cereal […]

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Give It 20! Or, How to Jump-Start Any Project.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Lucy Anderton

February is the month where winter goes to die. Sparkling, soft snow has dwindled into gray, crusty blobs, and weary people trudge through their days with little, personal clouds hovering overhead. Gone is that rush of energy delivered in New Year’s happy grasp. It takes all we have to finish that white paper, let alone […]

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How to Write an Award-Winning Tagline

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by Laurel Sutton

Part three of a three-part series. One of the most fun categories to judge at the 2016 LIA Awards was taglines (endlines). This was because—as we say in the naming biz—we had seven words rather than seven letters to play with and consider! The taglines we reviewed were mostly from advertising campaigns, both print and […]

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The Best Valentine’s Day Blog Posts of All Time

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 by Stacy Crinks

As you might guess from looking at our website, or my stationery collection, or my closet—freakishly awash in red and pink, with a dash of metallic glitter—Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. This giant painting in my home office sets the tone for my entire life. If there is one word I would have tattooed […]

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Words to Watch: The Stocking-Size Style Guide

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 by David Hayward

We love creating editorial style guides and brand guidelines because they can help a company to produce more effective content for years. These references can be especially helpful for people in your organization who produce content but don’t count writing as a core skill. But not all companies want or need a comprehensive new guide. […]

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Copy Blocks: Really, What Can’t They Do?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 by Lisa Stonestreet

At the Content Bureau, we produce a lot of marketing assets. A few are crucial but short-lived one-offs, for events or other special occasions. Most—like web copy, case studies, and infographics—are designed to serve your business for much longer, in a variety of situations. And then there are copy blocks. As the name implies, they’re […]

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How to Write Award-Winning Copy

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 by Laurel Sutton

Part two of a three-part series. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently invited to join the judges of the Verbal Identity panel of the 2016 LIA Awards. Now that the LIA winners for Verbal Identity have been announced, we can examine why those Gold and Silver winners took the honors. I […]

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Why the Best Bylined Articles Are a Team Effort

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Chris Kent

I’ve never liked pure “ghostwriting”—that is, writing all of the words under someone else’s name without any input from the person who’s actually taking the credit. I’m not annoyed that I don’t share the spotlight. I just think that writing falls flat when there’s no authentic input from the “author.” This is especially true when […]

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How to Enter Your Work in an Industry Contest

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 by Laurel Sutton

Recently, I was honored to be included as a judge on the Verbal Identity Panel of the LIA Awards, held in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the LIA has been rewarding excellence in advertising for 20 years, 2016 was the first year that Verbal Identity was added to the judging categories. I learned a lot over the course […]

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