What About Text?
You may be thinking that when you print off text, it always looks clear. This is true, but text is actually stored in a vector format. Because it is a vector format, it is resolution independent. Its quality is always clear and crisp because the output device will automatically define the correct resolution. The resolution is only defined at output for a vector, not in the file itself. (there are exceptions for raster data that may be included in the file, but we’re focusing on vector only data at this time)

What is the Difference Between Rasterized and Vector Text?
What happens when you format text in a program like Photoshop? Why does it sometimes look fuzzy or jagged around the edges? This happens when it is changed from a vector format to a raster format. The data is essentially being flattened, and the output device can no longer process it like a vector. This is why raster based image editing software is not ideal for typesetting. Typography often needs a very high resolution in comparison to images. I have even heard of type being processed at 600 dpi, while the images were 300 dpi. This is a siginifcant difference, so you can see why type at 300 dpi may start to lose quality.

above: my logo converted to a raster format, with bevel and emboss applied in Photoshop. Quality is crisp at this size.

above: Click to enlarge, and you will see what happens when I zoom in on the raster image in Photoshop. The edges are no longer crisp, at the larger size.

Although rasterized text can lose quality in print, this does not mean you should never use the type tool in Photoshop. Rather, it should be used sparingly, and the document should always utilize the maximum resolution required for output so that quality can be maintained.

For a logo, this is not as easy to accomplish in Photoshop. Although you can create vector content in Photoshop, it is really a raster-based image editor first. It is, as the name suggests, primarily intended for editing photos. It is useful for many other things as well, but vector content can be more tedious to manage in Photoshop. It is possible with features such as “smart objects” to manage vector data in Photoshop while ensuring that the item remains a vector. Photoshop is a robust program with a multitude of features and can be used to accomplish a variety of things, but it is not ideal for creating vector logos.

Are you missing a vector version of your logo and you think you need one?

Feel free to contact me with a low resolution version of your logo to receive an estimate on the time and cost it would require to vectorize your logo.

Come back tomorrow for part 3 in this series.
Next up: preparing vector logos for maximum compatibility.

Previously in the “Why You Should Have a Vector Logo” series: