Skip to main content

Vector Graphics

A guide for vector graphics and vector editing software.

Librarian

Morgan Sawicki's picture
Morgan Sawicki
Contact:
Library 21c
1175 Chapel Hills Dr.
Colorado Springs, CO
80919
719.531.6333

Intro to Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are computer-based images consisting of lines and shapes instead of pixels. Because of this, they can be scaled up or down without distortion on everything from mobile phones to billboards. Vector software can be used in conjunction with a variety of machines, including die-cutters, embroidery machines, and laser engravers and cutters. Some designs you can create with vector graphics software include: business cards; logos; infographics; social media banners; posters; invitations and cards; advertisements; stickers; and t-shirt designs. 

One of the biggest differences between raster (pixel-based) and vector (line-based) graphics is that you can zoom in on vector graphics with no distortion at all. Here's an example -- these mustaches look nearly (if not completely) identical from a distance: 

raster versus vector graphic: two mustaches side-by-side

When you zoom in closer, you can clearly see the pixelization on the left image, which is a raster graphic. The vector graphic on the right has crisp, clear lines:

raster versus vector graphic: two images side-by-side

 

Two popular vector graphics editing software programs are Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. Click on the blue tabs on the left to learn more about these programs.