What are Vector Graphics?

In the world of graphic design, you will often be confronted with vector graphics. But have you ever wondered what is a vector exactly?Vector graphics are made of tons of lines and curves, also called paths, to create an image based on a mathematical equation. Raster images are instead made of pixels, tiny dots that compose the full image.One of the big advantages of working with vector graphics is that you can scale them as much as you can without losing any quality.


What is the difference between Raster and Vector Graphics?

As mentioned before raster images are based on a grid of pixels. Pixels are nothing but tiny squares you see when zooming in into the image. [caption id="attachment_1355" align="alignnone" width="1024"]

grid of pixel versus vector paths
xample of how Raster and Vector Software work. Illustration designed by @alicelovesdrawing

But the number of pixels is fixed once you create the image. If you want to scale a design then it will always lose image quality.The most known format for raster images is the .jpeg (or .jpg), but also .png, .gif and .tiff,... are pixel-based. Files as .pdf or .eps can use, instead, a combo of raster and vector elements. Plus, any photo you have taken with your phone or camera is a raster image, don’t forget it!Let’s make an example. You have designed the logo for your business card and now you want to use it for your office billboard. If you have used a raster software for designing your logo, you will end you up with a blocky unclear scaled image when trying to adapt it to your billboard’s size.

what are vector graphics
Printed Poster. Illustration designed by @marta_reveries

The better way would be to use vector images and scale to any size without losing image quality. In addition, vector files do not require as much storage space as raster files which contain thousands of pixels. Besides, vector graphics are generally easier to modify and much better to use when it comes to responsive web design.

When to use Vector Graphics Instead of Raster Graphics?

After you read our short definition of vector graphics and the comparison with raster images, we will give you an overview in which cases you should use vector graphics instead of raster graphics.

By now, you should know that vectors are the best choice when it comes to design, illustrations and all kinds of graphics. Especially, if you want to scale them!

On the other side, we recommend using raster graphics while editing digital photography because they are much better to portray color depth. Unlike vector graphics that have “only” a few thousand color options, raster pixels can provide 16 million different colors.

Which tool should I use to create Vector Graphics?

There are several vector graphics editors you can choose from. If you are looking for a professional, intuitive and easy-to-use graphic design software, Vectornator has your back.

what are vector graphics? Printed Vector Poster

It’s available on the entire Apple EcoSystem.

You could start a detailed illustration on your Mac with your trackpad and then easily switch to the iPad to draw with the Apple Pencil. And in case you were away from your design workstation, you could even do some last-minute changes to your project on the small iPhone in your pocket.

Vectornator macOS iPadOS and iOS

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