“What is vector art, and why does it matter?” Most people who aren’t professional graphic designers have never heard of it, and let’s be honest, some professional graphic designers don’t know either. Since there’s a lot of confusion about the subject, here’s a quick refresher on what it is and why it matters.
What is vector art?
Vector art is created using specialized software programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These programs use mathematical equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, print-ready, and can be scaled infinitely without any loss of quality or readability.
Here’s an image illustrating the difference between raster and vector art. Notice how the raster image is fuzzy, blurry, and jagged, while the vector image is smooth and clean.
Raster graphics, such as photographs and files created in Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and other raster editing programs, can be used for some screen printing applications, such as printing one-color pen and ink drawings. In most cases, especially with art such as logos, we will need vector art to achieve the proper print.
Is my art vectorized?
One way to tell if your art is in vector format is by checking the file type. Vector art is usually created in Adobe Illustrator and is commonly saved with certain file extensions. The four most common vector file extensions are .ai, .pdf, .eps and.svg.
However, just because a file is saved in one of these formats does not mean that it is truly vector art. Raster files can be opened in Adobe Illustrator and re-saved with a vector file extension, but without recreating the art using the vector editing tools there’s no benefit to this action. Only art originally created in a vector editing program is truly vector art.
So, how do you really know if your art file is a vector art file? Open the file and use the selection tool on an area within the art. You might see something like this:
If you see vector nodes, congratulations! Your art is vectorized.
Easy enough if you have the proper software, but most people do not own a copy of a vector editing program. We have a team of talented graphic designers who will be happy to check your file for you at no charge. Contact us today if you need help.
My art isn’t vectorized! What now?
If you had a professional designer create your art, contact them and ask for the editable vector files. Or perhaps if you work for a large company, contact your marketing or design departments.
If after all of this you discover that you have a non-vector art file, our team of graphic designers are able to convert the file for you. The first half-hour of design re-creation is free, and we charge a fee for our time after that. Contact us for more info.