The difference between pixels and vector art is as vast as the difference between peanut butter and jelly. They both serve very different functions. But when used together, the result is absolutely delicious!
Photos are pixel-based images. Pixels are tiny squares of color and the smallest controllable element of a picture represented on a screen. If you zoom in on a photo you will see hundreds of little squares of color. When you zoom out on the image, all the tiny squares combine to create a full-color image.
The number of pixels within a linear inch is called dpi or ‘dots per inch’. The more dots per inch, the better the image detail. The fewer dots per inch, the poorer the image detail.
Tips for controlling pixels:
Photos used in a brochure that will be printed on a commercial press must be 300dpi (at their printed size) in order to retain optimum quality. Photos printed on a home laser printer need only be 150dpi. A home laser or ink jet printer is unable to print clearly enough to appreciate the extra clarity of a 300dpi image. Photos used on the web only need to be 72dpi because they are only being viewed on a screen and not optimized for printing.
Any image can be resaved at a lower resolution than the original image and still retain image clarity. But, an image cannot be resaved at a higher resolution and increase in image clarity. To be safe, it is always best to keep a copy of a photo at the highest resolution possible. Then you can resave the photo at a lower resolution appropriate for the printing source. The higher the dpi, the larger the file size. So for file size optimization it is best to resave the image at the actual size and resolution that it will be printed or displayed at.
The most common file extensions that support pixel images are .psd, .jpg, .tif, and .bmp.
Vector art is made up of vectors (also called paths, or strokes) which lead through locations called control points. Vector art appears as crisp, clean lines. Vector art can easily be scaled up without losing image detail—unlike a pixel image. A vector logo is made up of individual pieces. These pieces can be moved independent of each other. The most common file types that support vector art are .eps, .pdf, and .ai.
Vector art is easily converted to a pixel image to be used on the web. It is difficult to convert a pixel image to vector art and maintain the accuracy of the vector lines.
We design all logos in vector format using Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator allows us the greatest flexibility and creativity in drawing custom art and modifying type. Once a final logo design is approved by the client, we save the logo in several file formats including .eps, .pdf, .jpeg and .ai.
The most common file types that support vector art are .ai, .pdf, and .eps.