What is a Vector Graphic?

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Vector graphics are made of paths that consist of thin lines and curves. They are created by drawing the outline of shapes and are composed of smooth, continuous lines. They are scalable, meaning when a vector image’s size is changed, it will always look the same. This lends more flexibility when there is no upper or lower sizing limit for the vector images. Vector images have this benefit because they are created by mathematical calculations that form the image’s lines and shapes versus a grid of pixels like raster images.

Vector images are crisp and clear, and scan conversion is not required for these images. There are no color blends in this vector “line art,” and because of this, photographs are best printed as raster images. Vector graphics are saved in file extensions .SVG, .EPS, .PDF, .AI, and .DXF.

Vector images occupy less digital space than raster images making it easy to transfer from one computer to the other and over the Internet as long as they are saved in widely compatible formats. Problems arise when vector images are created in programs like Adobe Illustrator and saved as native files since not everyone may have access to work with that program.

Text, logos, and illustrations are all saved as vector files. Type and fonts created this way allow you to change size without the type looking blocky and keep its smooth shapes and edging. Logos are important to be saved as a vector file so quality can be maintained whether it is posted on a webpage, billboard, or TV ad. Any other illustrations that need to be scaled up or down should be saved as vector files to maintain image quality like engravings, etchings, product artwork, signage, and embroidery.

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