Vector graphics are largely based on mathematics. Vector graphics are curves, lines and points that have their place in the coordinate system. A big advantage of a vector image is its high quality, which is especially visible when the object is very close.
It is very important that e.g. the logo or icon is not blurred after zooming in. Vector graphics have many advantages – they are editable and fully scalable. What are the other advantages of vector graphics? Does it have any disadvantages? What programs to use when creating it?
Raster or vector graphics? Advantages and differences of both types of graphics
Lines and shapes created from equations create vector graphics and thousands of pixels create raster images.
- Vector files
Common vector graphics file formats have the ending: .pdf, .eps, .syg, .cdr, .ai, .xml etc. But the most common standard vector graphics file format is .SVG (scalable vector graphic), which is usually used in web design. What’s important is that it’s not exclusively assigned to any graphics program, allowing the .SVG file to be opened by most popular vector graphics tools.
Vector images can also be found in .pdf files. Adobe Illustrator uses its own type of AI vector file for illustration and print layout. Vector files of a smaller size can be easily transferred over the Internet. They load at a much higher speed. For a freelance graphic designer, this means that potential customers will be able to see the entire image within seconds.
As already mentioned, the main advantage of vector graphics is full scalability and flexibility. Thanks to its application, the graphic designer can quickly and easily change the size of e.g. a brand logo without losing image quality at the same time. At each zoom, pixels will not be visible, the image will be sharp and clear – regardless of zoom and zoom multiples.
The use of this type of graphics on websites distinguishes projects made by amateurs and professionals. Raster graphics lose their quality after scaling. Many popular graphic formats are so called bitmap (raster) graphics.
In the case of a raster image – after a significant zoom the lines will be blurred and you will be able to see the pixels. In times when websites are displayed on screens of various devices and platforms – it can be either a smartphone with a small screen or a desktop computer with a large monitor – the quality of the image is crucial.
To make icons and images look good in any resolution and on any screen, the best solution is to use vector graphics. By placing a vector image on a page, you get the same high quality image on any device – tablet, smartphone or computer monitor without having to adjust the design specifically for the mobile or computer version.
- Saves disk space
Another invaluable advantage (especially when graphics store many projects on disk) is that vector image files are usually smaller. Vector graphics are based on mathematical equations, and these do not require much space.
In the case of raster graphics, each project consists of thousands of pixels – this in turn has a real impact on the total final file size. For those who appreciate every free gigabyte – the choice of the type of graphics you use for your work is very important.
It should be remembered that sometimes complex vector files can be much larger than their raster counterparts. This means that loading and editing can take a little longer. Nevertheless, the vector image will retain its quality regardless of the scale.
Another difference that separates both types of graphics is the ability to convert. It is usually more difficult to convert raster graphics to vector images (especially digital images). However, this operation is much easier in the opposite direction, i.e. when changing from vector to raster image.
What is the best use of vector graphics for?
There are special orders at work where it is virtually impossible to omit using vector graphics. One of them is logotype design. Thanks to vector graphics, the brand’s logo will remain as sharp and clear both in a small format (e.g. on business cards) and on a large billboard and other types of large-format advertising. Its scalability helps to keep images sharp and clear regardless of the size of the sign.
Graphic designers who create illustrations, icons and infographics usually use vector graphics. What’s more – thanks to it, widely understood printing of designed patterns (on knitwear and paper) is easier and the effects of work on computer animation and other graphic designs are more professional.
Vector graphics provide high quality, scalable images while maintaining file size and bandwidth. The advantages of vector graphics make the vector a basic choice for printing shapes, customizing logos and signs and creating illustrations and infographics. It is important to skillfully use special graphic programs, thanks to which it is possible to change the size of the image and prepare it for printing without problems.
Vector graphics in competitions
Apart from using vector graphics in marketing (billboards), branding (logo creation) and other industries where image quality is very important (especially in large formats), vector graphics are also used in illustration and 3D modelling. Vector graphics and such programs are most often used by designers and illustrators, but these are obviously not all specialties that use it on a daily basis.
- Graphic designer
Designers usually create websites and advertisements. Their work is based on the design and thorough preparation of the general organization of content and images in a specific project. It can be the cover of a book or magazine, where the color scheme, font and graphic background counts, but also a billboard or advertisement in a magazine.
- Illustrator, draftsman
Illustrators, unlike graphic designers, are not responsible for the whole project, but for its artistic part. They create single logos, images, comics, illustrations, etc. Illustrators often use vector graphics tools on a daily basis. A professional illustrator can be responsible for creating cinema posters, book illustrations and other digital vector artworks.
What is vector graphics? In physics, a vector is both an indicator of size and direction. Working with vector graphics is the creation of digital images using a sequence of commands or mathematical expressions that place lines and shapes in a given 2D or 3D space.
Vector image files are easier to modify than raster image files (which can sometimes be converted to vector files for further refinement). It is hard to imagine web pages, flyers and illustrations without designing them using vector graphics. This is the basis and everyday work of any graphic designer.