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Pixels vs Vectors - What's the difference?

When it comes to graphics, the two primary file types you’ll work with are ‘Pixels’ and ‘Vectors’ – but what are they? And what’s the difference between the two?


Keep reading to find out.

Simply put, the main difference between Pixel and Vector graphics is the structure of the image. Pixel graphics are created from lots of tiny squares (also known as ‘pixels’). Vector graphics, on the other hand, are created using mathematical equations that calculate everything from where the edges of shapes sit in relation to each other to the colour and types of lines used.


But what does this mean?

If you zoom in really closely on a pixel image, at some point you’ll start to see each individual pixel, but this doesn’t happen with a vector, no matter how closely you zoom in or how large you make the graphic, the quality will remain the same.


How do you spot the difference between a Pixel and a Vector?

Pixels will usually have file extension of .jpg, .png or .bmp. Whereas, a vector might be .ai or .eps. If you’re ever in doubt, just zoom into the image as much as you possibly can. If it loses quality, it’s a pixel, if it doesn’t, it’s a vector.


So which should you use?

As a general rule, vectors will always be used to create things like fonts and logos as it allows for greater control over the colour and size of the finished graphic. Pixels, on the other hand, are always found in digital photographs as the individual pixel squares make for more efficient colour blending.


There are pros and cons to each graphic type and which you use will typically depend on where it’s going to published i.e. print/web and what style you’re trying to achieve.


If you have questions about vectors and pixels and which would work better in your publication, get in touch today to discuss your latest project and how we can help.




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