How to Vectorize Your Logo

In this practical guide, we've shared how to recreate any pixel-based logo or graphic as a vector in Adobe Illustrator. This process is also known as "vectorizing". So, what is the difference between a pixel and a vector? Pixels are tiny colored boxes that make up an image, and so they get jagged (or "pixelated") when you stretch the image out. On the other hand, vectors are created with shapes, so they can be resized as large as you want, without altering image quality. Therefore, your vectorize logo can be utilized in any situation, whether it's a giant billboard or small letterhead.

  1. Load Your Logo: First, launch Illustrator and go to "File" > "Open" to load your image. If you see a square appear inside your logo, don't worry about it — it's just Illustrator drawing a grid for your canvas, and it won't affect the process.
  2. Get Ready to Trace: Next, choose the Selection tool (it looks like a normal black arrow) from the main toolbar and click on your logo. This will select the entire canvas, and draw a light blue border around it. To prepare Illustrator to trace your logo, look at the top options bar and click on the drop-down arrow next to the "Live Trace" button. Then, click on "Tracing Options".  
  3. Adjust the Tracing Options: A new dialog box should appear, with a range of advanced options that affect how Illustrator will trace the pixel-based image and convert it to a vectorize logo, made of lines and shapes. First, make sure the "Preview" option is enabled, so that you can see exactly what Illustrator's edits will look like, before you perform them. Then, adjust the "Threshold" value to determine which pixels are converted to white, and which are converted to black. In this scenario, black is 1 and white is 255, so you can start in the middle (around 128) and then adjust the Threshold if necessary. When you're happy with the image preview, click "Trace".
  4. Fill the Shapes with Color: Now, Illustrator will trace your logo and transform it into a black-and-white vector, but you probably want to add some color. Select the Color Palette button on the right side of the screen to open the Color Window. Here, you have access to every color imaginable. Depending on your needs, every vector shape has its own "Stroke" and "Fill" color. In most cases, the "Stroke" will stay black, and you can decide which shapes need to be filled with which hue.   
  5. Save Your Work: When you're pleased with the vector logo's color scheme, select "File" > "Save As" to create a new file for your finished project. Now, you can use this vectorized image as an asset in virtually any medium, no matter how large or small!  
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