When you create an image or design in Photoshop (or Canva), it is a raster file and not vector. So what does that mean? Design programs lets you design files that are either Vector Based or Raster Based images. A program that uses vector is Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is the industry standard to create vector images and it’s a program that I use to create all my images for my business. A program that is raster based is Photoshop. A lot of people use Photoshop because it’s fairly easy to learn and people can usually achieve a look that they want. However, if you are going to design a logo (or really any printed materials) then you will want to use Illustrator or another vector based program.
Vector vs Raster
what is a vector image?
Vector programs use mathematic equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, camera ready, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality or fidelity.
If you have a logo that’s created in Illustrator then you can have it scaled to any size and it makes it very easy to create other artwork with it.
I see premade logos being offered all the time with photoshop files (.psd) and this can be a huge mistake. IF you must absolutely have to use a logo made from Photoshop, then you need to create it at the largest size possible because you can always reduce the size later without losing quality. But I advise against this.
Side Note: We offer premade logos in our shop and we include the Illustrator file and the Photoshop file in the downloads. While we believe that every logo should be created using Illustrator, we understand that there can be limitations for you personally and so we include the Photoshop file for ease of use.
Editing Illustrator files can be fairly simple even if you don’t really know the program but if you find that you don’t have time to learn illustrator, we suggest you have a designer create the files for you.
what is a raster image?
Raster Images are made up of pixels. Photographs have a bunch of tiny little pixels that form the full picture. So when you zoom into a picture or increase the size of an image you can see these pixels and as you increase the size you will start to get a pixelated image. The edges of the photo become blurry and the quality of the images decreases.
If you are going to create an image in Photoshop make sure it is the size that you need it to be or even bigger. If you scale down an image, it won’t lose quality, but if you increase an image then you will.
The other issue with rasterized images is that once you export them to a jpg, png, tiff, pdf, they become “flattened” images so they can no longer be edited. Sure you can do some photoshop hacks, and overlays if you want to recolor your artwork if it is simple artwork but if you don’t have the original psd file, making changes become extremely difficult or impossible.
real life scenarios
You might be wondering how this will effect you. Here are some examples so you can get a better understanding.
Scenario 1: You create a logo in Photoshop for a business card so you create it at 3.5” x 2”. You love it and it looks great. However, let’s say you decide you need a poster and you need your logo to be a larger size on the poster. You take the logo and enlarge it, and then you see that it loses its quality and becomes blurry. This is the issue with creating a logo in photoshop.
Scenario 2: You have a logo that is in a jpg format but you don’t have it in an EPS format or .ai (Illustrator) format. However, you want to get something printed. So you send a jpg or png to your printer and they tell you it’s too small and it’s only 72 dpi resolution, so they aren’t going to be able to print it for you. Making changes, getting something printed, changing colors, etc won’t happen unless you recreate the artwork and then you risk the end result coming out differently.
I worked for a printing company for a few years and I always see the same mistake over and over again. We have had clients come to us to get their logo printed at a large scale and then they send over a logo that was made in Photoshop or it’s a flattened jpg.
Now I understand that illustrator can be tough to learn but it is essential to your business if you were going to be doing your own graphics. I create 99% of all of my graphics in Illustrator. If you were creating a logo in Photoshop even though I suggest you don’t do it then please know that you should be creating new logo at the largest size that you are going to eat and then you can scale down. With the Photoshop file scaling down doesn’t lose resolution only scaling larger.
another quick tip
If you have a designer that is creating your logo for you, make sure that the illustrator or .eps file is included in the final files. If your designer does not provide one of those options, ask if they will provide them to you. If you find that they won’t provide them for you, then seek a new designer. You never want a designer to send you over your final logo files as a psd format.