What is a vector graphic and what makes it important?

by Cecil | January 19, 2017

What is a vector graphic and what makes it important?

A vector graphic is a computer image that is created as lines rather than a series of dots, allowing it to be rotated or proportionally scaled.

Unlike JPEGs, GIFs, and BMP images, vector graphics are not made up of a series of dots (known as pixels).

Instead, vector graphics are comprised of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape.

These paths can be used to create simple drawings or complex diagrams. Paths are even used to define the characters of specific typefaces.

Because vector-based images are not made up of a series of dots, they can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality. If you enlarge up a raster graphic, it will look blocky, or “pixelated.”

When you enlarge a vector graphic, the edges of each object within the graphic stay smooth and clean. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos, which can be small enough to appear on a business card, but can also be scaled to fill a billboard.

Common types of vector graphics include Adobe Illustrator and EPS files.
File extensions: .AI, .EPS, .SVG, .DRW


When it comes to printing

Vector art is ideal for printing since the art is made from a series of curves, it will print very crisply even when resized. For instance, one can print a vector logo on a small sheet of copy paper, and then enlarge the same vector logo to billboard size and keep the same crisp quality.

A low-resolution raster graphic would blur or pixelate excessively if it were enlarged from business card size to billboard size.



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