Vector logos can offer a number of benefits over raster graphics due to their scalability. A single logo in a vector image format can typically be used to create many different branded products, regardless of size or other constraints. Due to the fact that vector images are easily scalable, the same file may be used to create small business cards, large billboards, or anything in between. This can make vector logos both more convenient and a better value than bitmap logos. The main drawback of vectors is that they do not render photorealistic images well, but this is typically not an issue where logo design is concerned.
Bitmaps are made up of small blocks called pixels, while vectors consist of mathematical formulas that describe various primitive geometric figures. The pixels that make up raster graphics like bitmaps can become distorted when the image is scaled up or down. This may manifest as images that appear blocky or blurry, which can appear unprofessional or make a logo difficult to recognize. Due to the way that vector images are rendered from mathematical formulas, vector logos can typically be scaled up or down as necessary without a loss of data or image quality.
The way that bitmaps are constructed from pixels can make it easy for them to display a wide variety of subtle color variations, while vectors may work better with simple gradients or solids. If a photorealistic image is desired as part of a logo, it may still be possible to take advantage of the vector image format. Some graphic design software allows for bitmap textures to be applied to vectors, providing the scalability of a vector and the photorealism of a bitmap. This type of process may make it possible to create photorealistic vector logos that can be scaled to different sizes.
It may be necessary to rasterize vector logos into bitmaps before they can be placed placed on a product or document. This rasterization process can turn the vector logo into a bitmap, but the original vector image file may still be used many times in differently sized applications. If a bitmap logo is created directly, a new one will need to be made from scratch each time a product requires a larger image size. With the flexible logo design of vector images, the same file can typically be enlarged without any visible distortion and then rasterized at that bigger size.