Ive gotten a few questions from potential and current clients on the differences between A Vector Graphic and Bitmap Image. A bitmap image, also known as raster image is basically made up of tiny dots called pixels. Images like your digital photographs are well known bitmap images. These kinds of images has a certain limitation to how big or how small they can be resized/scaled without loosing sharpness and detail. Vector graphics on the other hand, use mathematical relationships between points and the paths connecting them to describe an image.
Examples after the jump
Example logo from a Photography Company i help set up with another photographer friend of mine.
Both images are placed into a canvas size of 400px X 400px. Can anyone guess without which is which without looking at the exif? At first glance when looking at them both, where their sizes and scale are intended, it almost looks identical. But once both of them are scaled up in the example below.
As you can see, vector graphics hold a great advantage over bitmap images when it comes to scalability. This is why logos and other designs are typically created in vector format — the quality will look the same on a business card as it will on a billboard.