Whether you work in graphic design or you just dabble, I’m sure you’ve been told vector graphics are the way to go with your design work. But why vector graphics? What’s the big deal? If you’re a veteran designer this may not be shocking, but the reasons are often easy to miss if you’re just starting out.
Keep reading and at the bottom of the page you can download some free graphics from our friends at VectorStock to see how they can benefit your graphic design workflow.
What’s the difference between raster and vector?
There are a lot of important differences between the two file types, but we’ll start with the basics: a raster image is the kind you see most often. Your computer essentially views the image as a grid, with each position in the grid being a pixel of specific color data. Higher resolution images have more pixels, meaning more detail. But what are vectors?
The simplest answer is that vector files are math. The lines, curves, and fills are all described by their geometry, meaning instead of having to store the data on each exact point within the image, the computer just knows that for a given area as described by its formula, that area has the following color applied. Of course, if you want to get technical there’s a lot more going on, but this is a simplification we can work with.
Watch the tutorial Raster Art vs. Vector Art to learn more.
So, the computer stores and views these files differently. Great. But what does this mean to you, the user? Here are a few major differences, and on top of that, why using stock vectors can be a great starting point for your projects.
#1 Keep your file size down
Vector images are generally much smaller than bitmap or raster images, as all the computer has to know is the math involved in the shapes, and that is something that is easily compressed for storage. Raster images are large because the computer has to store unique values for each position in the image grid, and that does not compress as nicely: want a small raster file? Get ready to lose a lot of image quality.
#2 Resize without losing image quality
Vectors can be rescaled without losing quality. The computer just increases or decreases the variables in the formula that describes your lines, curves, shapes, and fills, and seamlessly expands or shrinks them. Again: no loss in quality! This is ideal for logos and other professional graphics. For example, the Spring sale design below can be resized from a small web graphic to a large, poster print size without any additional work. I’m sure we don’t have to tell you what happens when you try to expand a raster image – you get a blurry, pixelated mess.
#3 Make easy edits
Since vector images store their data in discreet formulas, you can make large or small changes fast. Swap in a color or change a shape with a couple clicks and you’re done. Add that color, move that point, bend those lines, all in a few seconds.
To learn more, watch our full tutorial How to Customize Clipart.
#4 Save time
This is especially true if you’re working from a stock vector graphic. There are massive numbers of available images you can use to get a head start on your work. Want to add a floral element to your design? Think of how much time you would save by using one of these ready made graphics instead of designing it from scratch yourself.
#5 Avoid creative block
Sometimes the hardest part of a project is the blank screen that confronts you in the beginning. Having something to start from can be a great way to break through a block and get going.
#6 Create pro-quality designs
Finally, if you’re just starting out, having some professional-level stock vector graphics to start from will help you create a polished, professional-looking final product.
If you’re new to working with clipart, watch our full tutorial How to Use Clipart.
Convinced yet? If you have CorelDRAW, check out the Store section of your in-product Welcome Screen for the latest special offers on unique, ready-to-use vector images and clipart, just waiting for your next project. And to get you started, here are some clipart packs from our friends at VectorStock, free for you to download and use.