Having a great logo is not only important for making a strong first impression, it also forms the foundation of your brand and image building campaigns. It doesn’t take a degree in marketing to realise that a well designed logo will provide your business with a professional image, but a problem we often face when creating new web sites for clients is that of the presentation of the logo, or simply put, its file quality.
Rasters and Vectors – a Brief Overview
Images can be stored on computers in two different ways, either as raster images or vectors. The vast majority of images you come across will be rasters – these include JPGs, PNGs and BMPs. When you save an image as a raster, the picture is converted into a grid of tiny pixels (or points). The colour of each pixel is recorded and it is this information that is saved in the digital file.
The alternative method of creating images is a lot more complex – instead of creating a picture using individual pixels, vector images store information about the mathematical relationship between the different elements of a picture.
To use the French flag as an example, a vector image file would contain a list of instructions that could be used recreate it – place a white rectangle (with a height twice its width) in between a blue rectangle and a red rectangle of the same size. A raster image file of the same flag would contain information about the pixels used – 100 blue pixels, 100 white pixels, then 100 red pixels, repeated two hundred times.
The Disadvantages of Rasters
200px wide logo
While raster formats are very efficient at storing images (it would be an horrendous task to describe the mathematical relationships between the different elements in a photograph of your cat) they are not suited for work in the design industry. When you resize a raster image you are effectively increasing the size of the pixels.
Same logo resized to 600px wide
While this wouldn’t be a problem for the French flag raster image (there are only horizontal and vertical lines used), a more complex picture will lose all sharpness and definition. What was originally a smooth diagonal line will become a jagged staircase as the pixels increase in size. If the image contains text, the loss of quality will be noticed immediately.
Vector logo resized to 2000px wide
It is here that vector images shine – they can be resized without any loss of quality as the relationship between the elements of the image will always remain in proportion regardless of the image size.
It is possible to create a very large raster logo and save different sizes of it for use on your stationary and website, but you will need to ensure that the size of the original logo is big enough to cover all eventualities (including signage and livery).
The better solution is to create your logo as a vector image. Once you have a ‘master’ vector file, you can create raster copies at whatever size you require. It is not possible to directly convert a raster logo into a vector logo – if you only have a vector version of your logo it will need to be recreated using an SVG graphics package such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.
Lost your original vector file? Not a disaster
If you have lost the original vector files for your logo, Ardant offer a conversion service where the logo will be recreated from scratch using the raster versions you still have – typical conversion prices start from £35 for a standard logo. Get in touch to find out more.