Raster vs SVG graphics. Which is better?

After so many years of invention, still web designers struggle to select the right format for digital images, graphics & logos. It’s essential because it helps you to communicate with your potential customers effectively. Basically, these digital formats can be broadly classified into two formats raster images (Png files) and vector images (SVG files). Both have different purposes in design, and it is essential for you to understand when and where to use them for the right purpose. 

So, without much ado, let's begin to understand the difference, which one is better:


Raster Images - A fixed number of pixels join as building blocks to complete an image known as Raster. Raster-based files or PNG (Portable Network Graphics) feature high resolutions, lossless compression, transparency, and the ability to handle 16 million colors. The image cannot be enlarged without distortion occurring. Some common raster files are jpg, png, and gif formats.

SVG Images - Scalable Vector Graphics or vector image file format is a mathematical expression that uses geometric forms such as points, lines, curves, and shapes (polygons) to represent different parts of the image. At any resolution or size, the vector image remains crisp and clear, in other words, the images can be scalable without negatively impacting their quality.  

File sizes

Raster Images - The raster files are often large and come with high resolution which can take a longer time to process, save, share and open. It can even slow down page loading time and is thus not considered a common option for online photography.  

SVG Images - Unlike PNG, SVGs are smaller therefore they do not slow down your computer or website. As they are vector file format, thus scaling them up or down they do not lose the quality.   


Raster Images - PNG files come with only lossless compression of 5-20%, which can help make up for their large file size.

SVG Images - Vector images offer lossless compression which means these files are easily compressible to smaller file sizes at no cost to their definition, detail, or quality.

Compatibility and conversion

Raster Images - It is easy to access raster files in comparison with vector files and can be open in many different apps and web browsers, making them easy to view, edit, and share.

SVG Images - Vector files require specialized software to open, and edit the files. Still, you can easily convert vector files into raster and vice-versa. 

Last words

SVG files make them perfect because of their size and scalability uniquely suitable for business cards to billboards. They're also used in lower thirds for videos, web-based objects, and rendering 2D or 3D computer animation. Their native files are needed for coin designs, laser engraving, t-shirts, patches, etc. 

Photo of Eliza K.
Eliza K. from Swift DevLabs

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