Why are there so many image file types? Because every file type has its place. GIF, JPG and PNG are best used on the web, TIFF files work best for print and vectors are the most versatile for editing the size of an image. Vectors can be scaled from tiny business cards all the way up to graphics on the side of a semi-truck trailer. Vectors can also be blown up huge and scaled back down over and over without losing the quality of the original.
Most files (known as rasters) are made up of tiny dots or “pixels” and when you increase or decrease the size of the image, you’re just growing or shrinking all those little dots. Vectors use geometry: points, curves and shapes based on math, so when you increase the size of a vector, you’re not just stretching a ton of pixels, the image is basically recreating itself in the size you need. The final image will need to be ‘rasterized’ and converted into a TIFF or JPG for printing, since printers print in pixels.
Cutcaster has a wide variety of vector graphics available. When you are searching for an image type, make sure you chose “Vectors Only” in the File Type box on the left side of the page or keep an eye out for the little “V” underneath our illustration thumbnails, indicating that those illustrations are available as a vector.