What Is a Vector Illustration?

A vector illustration is one of the most popular file formats for charts and graphs, text, logos, graphics, and illustrations. Image resolution does not apply to vector images, meaning that they retain the same quality even upon being resized.

The most basic definition of vector art is that it is created in Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Freehand, and sometimes Photoshop. You can recognize a vector file by its extension; vector files will end in one of the following: .ai, .svg, .eps, .pdf. Vector images are not created as PDF files, but in order to print one out, it must first be converted into a print-friendly format, the most common of which is PDF.

There is an extremely technical explanation to define vector images, but essentially, the programs in which they are created use mathematical algorithms to create lines, curves, shapes, and points which can then be manipulated into an image. Because of the difference in the way that vector drawings are created as opposed to more traditional raster images, you can change the size of a vector image without worrying about maintaining its resolution, nor do you need to concern yourself about the image becoming pixelated.

Creating vector art in one of the above programs is a relatively simple matter. The drawing tools available are similar to those used in other computer-aided drawing programs:
  • Pencil tool
  • Shape tool
  • Pen tool
There is also a tool that allows you to select specific objects so that you can then make changes to the color, line thickness, etc. Vector images can be nearly as simple or as complex as you want them to be.

On the other hand, if you do not want to create your own vector images, or do not have access to the programs that you need to do so, you can find, license, and access the vector that you need on Shutterstock. Talk to one of our customer service representatives to learn more.

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