What are vector images and how can they improve your design?

3 min read

images vectorielles

vector images-If you ever needed to print an image in png or jpeg format, scale it or order a custom print on a garment, you may have had some unpleasant surprises. The picture may become blurry, or lose clarity or quality. When this happens, it indicates that you are working with a raster image. It is therefore more interesting to use a vector image to avoid this type of problem for printing and resizing. But what is a vector graphics image, and how does it differ from raster format? Read on to learn about the characteristics of a vector image, where and how you can create these graphics, and what designs and applications you can use them for.

vector pictures

Raster image and vector image: what’s the difference?

Raster and vector formats may look similar or even identical, which is completely normal. If you’re not into graphics, you might not notice any difference until you decide to do something with an image. So let’s explore the characteristics of vector images, or vectors, and learn their usefulness.

Raster images

Raster images, such as photos, illustrations, and designs, are colorful and eye-catching visuals, but they are not losslessly expandable. When resized, they often lose quality, and instead of clear lines and sharp angles, you start to see pixels, which are dots or squares of color that make up the entire image.

In some cases, you can still use raster images to work with, for example when you don’t need to resize the image significantly, or when you need to print it in a small format. They are also an excellent choice for photographers looking for precise color control.

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You cannot convert raster images to vector format, only trace them, which may affect the visual. Therefore, if you need to work with images that are easier to scale, you should consider switching to vector format. To quickly find royalty-free vector images online, go to the website of en.depositphotos.com.

Depositphotos Stock vector image

Vector images

Vector images are made up of what are called “vector primitives”: lines, curves, dots, and colors that fill the space in between. They are easily resizable, you can enlarge the files as much as you want, they will always remain of good quality. When working with it, the vectors do not lose quality and their colors do not change.

Vector image formats are also generally easy to edit and adjust. This is essential when you need to work with a batch of similar images that differ in size or color. Colors are separated into their own shapes in vector graphics, allowing you to modify them easily. Recoloring an image will only take you a few clicks. Vector files can also be easily converted to raster format if needed (png, jpg, jpeg, etc).

How to create a vector illustration

The process of creating vector images is somewhat similar to drawing, but not identical: vector lines bend to specific rules, unlike freehand illustrations. However, this can also be an advantage. It’s easier to create clean straight lines and curves by drawing in vector format.

To create vector artwork, you need a computer or tablet, and one of the following software: Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, CorelDRAW, Quark, Inkscape, or Affinity Designer. Once you’ve decided on the software that’s right for you, take a vector illustration course tailored to the software or check out the tutorials on YouTube. Also look for inspiration and design ideas on websites like Behance, Dribble, and Pinterest.

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What are the vector image formats?

The fastest and easiest way to distinguish vector images from raster images is to check the file extension. Vector image files end with one of the following extensions:

However, while PDF files are included in this list, not all of them are considered vector designs.

How to understand if a PDF file contains a vector or raster image? It depends on the type of the initial file. If you create a vector illustration and save it as a PDF, then it is a vector format. On the other hand, if you save a JPG illustration (or any other type of raster image) as a PDF, it will not make it a vector file. Also, to identify whether it is a vector or raster illustration in the downloaded PDF file, you can zoom in on the image to check its pixelation.

Where can you use the vector illustrations?

Depositphotos Free vector images

Illustrations and vector designs can be used by professionals and amateurs in the following areas:

  • Graphic design. When it comes to branding and corporate advertising, vector images can be used in both small formats like brochures and very large formats like billboards.
  • Apps and websites. In February 2022, 57.38% of global web traffic came from mobile phones. Businesses need to adapt and adjust to this new reality by creating mobile-friendly apps and websites – and that’s where vector graphic design comes in handy. Thanks to it, the interfaces look good on a device of any size.
  • Animation. The editability and scalability of vector graphics also makes it a great option for animation, ensuring that moving images will look clean and smooth.
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In summary

Two types of images are used online: raster images and vector images. Raster images are usually photos, illustrations, and designs created in specialized software like Adobe Photoshop. They are bright and eye-catching, but lose image quality after resizing. In contrast, vector images are easily editable and resizable. They are ideal for projects that require high-quality visuals and high scalability, such as advertising, branding, web and app design, and animation.

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