Why do images blur?
There are two types of graphics; raster and vector. Raster graphics (like photos) are made up of a grid of pixels, where each pixel has its own color. When you resize a photo, your computer has to add or delete pixels on the new grid.
It’s easier to explain with an example, so have a look at this 3 pixel white-to-black gradient that we want to make 4 pixels wide.
Each pixel has a value (here it’s 0%, 50%, and 100% black). These values are used to calculate the new pixel color and position. But, what should our fourth pixel be? Should it just copy one of the original pixels, like this?
Or, should the new pixel take the average color between two original pixels? And if so, which two; the first, or the last?
This is better, but maybe the 3 original colors also need to be replaced for a better result?
These complex calculations happen any time you resize a graphic, and as accurate as they are they are not perfect, so the image blurs and becomes pixelated.
In contrast, vector graphics are made up of rules, not pixels, and the rules govern the position and color of the elements. Here’s the same graphic in vector fomat. It’s rule places 0% black on the left going to 100% black on the right.
We can size it to be 4 pixels wide, and each pixel will be rendered following that rule.
This consistency at any size makes vector graphics perfect for logos.
So what if it’s not vector?
Graphic design is a huge industry with many designers specializing in their own areas. But, each area requires different expertise and tools (design sofware). Magazine layout needs one app, web design – another, and for logos design – something else.
So, while a logo can be designed in any number of programs, from MS Paint to one of these professional design apps, only vector-based apps will leave you with a format you can resize with no distortion.
While a photographer or web designer can probably design a logo for you, the apps they use are raster based, and the graphics they’ll deliver won’t resize without losing quality.
You’ll likely want to use your logo in several places – on your website, social media, email signatures, business cards, flyers, signage, uniforms, car wraps, etc., etc. For each use-case, your logo will need to be a different size.
If all you have are raster files (e.g. JPEG, PNG), you won’t be able to use your logo everywhere you want without it blurring. And, a logo that looks sloppy gives the impression that you either don’t care about your image, or that you don’t pay attention to the details. Either way you’ll communicate to potential customers that you’re a risky choice.
Avoid looking unprofessional and losing business by trusting your logo to designers experienced with vector graphics.