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Should the icons be crafted in bitmap or vector format?

A bitmap image file (such as GIF, PNG, TIFF, etc.) consists of pixel-based image information. Pixels (constriction for "picture element") are the smallest squares of color that your computer screen is made up of. A 24x24 pixel icon picturing a plain red square would be composed of 576 individual pixels, each represented by small bits of numeric data in an image file. A larger icon will contain more pixels, leading to more numeric information, and a greater file size as a resilt.
A vector icon file (like EPS, SVG, etc.) consists of geometric information. A vector image containing a red square scaled to 24x24 pixels only contains numeric datd regarding the geometrical position of the fout corners of the square, information about the color of the square, and information defining the size of the square as 24x24 pixels on the monitor. Basically our red square vector file only requires about six tiny bits of data as opposed to our 576 bits of data required for our red square created in bitmap.
The explanation is actually a bit more complex than this, but you get the general idea: Changing the size of a vector graphic file from 24x24 to 48x48 only requires the editing of one bit of data (the size). The math does the rest. However, modifying the size of a bitmap image file from 24x24 takes the extra 1728 pixels, resulting in a larger file size.
That means one vector file may be used to represent it's image at multiple sizes, whereas a bitmap image may only clearly represent its only pre-set pixel size.
So if a vector file can change size to represent any dimensions it needs, why do the icon desigers choose bitmap format for their icons?
If you look at the same icon, drawn in both bitmap and vector formats, you will see that the bitmap one is clear and sleek, with all the lines sharply defined. On the other hand all the images that had been scaled from the vector file look blurry.
This happens because, even though vector files can be scaled to every size, there is a weakness in them This weakness is more obvious at small sizes. Especially sizes of less then 48x48 pixels. The flaw is that computer screens still have pixel-based (that is to say, bitmap-based) displays.
When you have a vector image, initially sized at 24x24 and shrink it down to 16x16, the relative proportions do not match. There's no chance you can evenly distribute 24 pixels of data into 16 pixels of space because, there's no such thing as half a pixel. That's why the image blurs.
There's also no way you can evenly scale 24 pixels of information upwards into 32 pixels area. Again, the image blurs.
Furthermore, if you have that same vector image, originally sized at 24x24 and scale it up to 48x48, you're now doubling the proportions. Now you don't have sharp 1-pixel details. You have messy 2-pixel lines. Scale it up larger (say to 96x96) and the lines will become even thicker.
There are a few caveats: First, if you're creating larger icon sizes (say, above 48x48) you will not notice the difference as much, and you may consider the results to be fine. Second, your mileage will differ as you design various types of artwork. The less-detailed your linework is, the less you will need to worry about this.

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