This post was written by Capital Brandworks' graphic designer Eric P. Moyers.

It’s the number one question I receive as a graphic designer: “Eric, can you please take a look at this art file and let me know if it’s vector art?” More often than not, the file in question is a JPEG and the answer is no. Now don’t get me wrong, high-resolution JPEG files offer a great starting point to help graphic designers create or convert art into a vector graphic, but they are not a Vector file format. Rather, JPEGs and other file formats such as PNG and GIF are considered Raster images.

Let’s explore the difference.

What is a Vector file?

In graphic design speak, vector graphics are computer graphic images that are defined as 2D points which are connected by lines and curves that form basic or intricate shapes. Here is an example.

These points help keep your art clean in appearance and allow your art to be scaled infinitely without any loss of quality.  Vector graphics are commonly saved in file formats such as PDF, EPS and SVG. However, just because a file is saved in that format, does not mean it will automatically convert your file into a vector graphic file. That’s where hiring a graphic designer to help in this regard is highly recommended.

What is a JPEG file?

JPEG is an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, which is the name of the committee who originally created the standard and file format. JPEG is a file format that helps compress and maintain the quality of a digital image, used especially in the world of digital photography. The file compression can be adjusted and controlled, which enables and helps the user to select a tradeoff between storage size and image quality. In layman’s terms, a JPEG is simply a picture of a vector file.

Raster vs. Vector: A Comparison Between the Two

Here are a few examples that show the difference between a Raster image and a Vector graphic:

When in doubt, feel free to shoot us over your artwork and we’ll take a look to confirm whether or not it’s in the proper format.

For any inquires or questions regarding artwork, email us at art@capitalbrandworks.com.