If you’re like me, the answer is about a bazillion. The next time you start blabbing on about the difference between raster vs. vector files (all while your client develops an über confused look on his face), just send ‘em the link to this easy-to-understand article instead. A raster graphic is an image made of hundreds (or thousands or millions) of tiny squares of color information, referred to as either pixels or dots. (Technically pixels refer to color blocks viewed on an electronic monitor where as dots refer to the ink dots on a printed piece. But even professional designers, myself indluced, often use these two terms interchangeably.) The most common type of raster graphic? A photograph. The designer’s preferred program for creating and editing raster files? You guessed it: Adobe Photoshop. A vector graphic uses math to draw shapes using points, lines and curves. So whereas a raster image of a 1” x 1” square at 300 dpi will have 300 individuals pieces of information, a vector image will only contain four points, one for each corner, the computer will uses math to “connect the dots” and fill in all of the missing information. The most common types of vector graphics? Fonts and logos. The designer’s preferred program for creating and editing vector files? Adobe Illustrator. Yes, you read that right. While Adobe Illustrator is primarily a vector-based program, it has some raster-only elements available, such as drop shadows or outer glows. Likewise, Adobe Photoshop now allows you to work with vector-based objects (called smart objects) within the traditionally raster-based program. Don’t be confused…this added flexibility within design programs still doesn’t override the traditional wisdom: Jen Lombardi is the Head Honcho & Creative Genius at Kiwi Creative, a small marketing and design studio located in the lovely ‘burbs of Cleveland, Ohio. She helps small businesses and marketing departments within larger organizations with cool projects that involve graphic design and illustration, online advertising and social media strategy. Source.