What You Need to Know About Vector and Raster Lettering

What You Need to Know About Vector and Raster Lettering
January 25, 2017 Daniel Palacios
vector vs raster

Do you know the difference between vector and raster?

I’ll do my best to explain.


Vectors are made up of points, lines and shapes.


In general, the file types associated with them are PDF, EPS and SVG. One of the main reasons why a vector file is highly valued over any other file type is because you can scale up or down without ever losing sharpness, which I briefly mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

As a lettering artist, calligrapher or graphic designer, you might see a vector used for:

  • Logos
  • Fonts
  • Lettering
  • Calligraphy
  • Illustrations
  • Screen-printing

These are just a few of the ones I was able to think of quickly.

In order to vectorize your lettering, calligraphy or illustrations, you’ll need a program like Adobe Illustrator. If you’re working with fonts and typefaces, then you might go with Glyphs or Robofont, although I’ve seen some letterers start to use Glyphs.


Raster images are made up of lots of tiny squared pixels.


Some common file types are JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and BMP. When you enlarge any of these beyond the original size, you start to see fuzziness a.k.a. pixelation. Photographs are the best examples of raster images.

The most popular program out there for image processing is Adobe Photoshop.

Got it?

Without getting too technical, those are the differences between vector and raster I wanted to share with you. Hopefully this helps you understand where you might use one over the other and why a lot of people prefer a vector.

You could always save a vector graphic as a raster image, but it doesn’t work the same when you try to do the inverse.