What are Vector Graphics and How Best to Use Them

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Vector graphics are, in a sense, a more advanced form of computer graphics to design and print a finished drawing, logo, or a promo poster. As vector technology is based on mathematical statements that place lines and geometrical shapes, you can achieve a high sharpness of the image on any scale.

Unlike raster pictures made up of pixels of different colors, a vector is essentially a set of so-called primitives – lines, curves, circles, squares, etc. The image is formed as a file containing information on the coordinates of the points, the lines running through the anchor points, and the effects applied to the objects.

This principle of image creation provides an easy way to change the size of the picture without reducing its quality. When rendering a vector image, you can also transform shapes and regroup primitives to create new drawings based on pre-existing objects.

Where are vector graphics used?

Considering the characteristics of vectors, you can probably guess where this technology can be used. As one of the advantages of vector graphics is excellent sharpness regardless of the size of the picture, it finds application in areas requiring high precision of images with subsequent printing.

For example, vector graphics are typically used in graphic design. Modern technology allows you to easily create branding with multiple colorful visuals or modernize and digitalize famous logos to promote brands on the web. Besides, there are many other uses for vector graphics, including:

  • advertising campaigns
  • website and app designs
  • animations
  • publishing
  • engineering drawings and schemes
  • hard copy printing

Vector graphics software and file types

As vector graphics are used for different purposes, there is a variety of software programs to create and manage vector images. The most common tools of graphic developers include AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, ArchiCAD, and others. All of them use the same vector data model. However, they can create and interpret shapes in their own ways, using a wide range of formats, such as the following.

  • EPS, a common format developed by Adobe. Coded in PostScript, it is supported by most specialized software applications.
  • DWG, a file type widely used by engineers and architects. Developed by Autodesk, this format is associated with the AutoCAD software program. You can also open and edit DWG files in Corel Draw.
  • CDR, a format supported mainly by the Corel Draw graphic editor. The later versions of CDR represent a ZIP-compressed directory including XML files and RIFF files which store data in tagged chunks.
  • AI is a popular vector format that can be created in Adobe Illustrator, a simple and useful tool for rendering graphic artworks.
  • SVG, a format based on Extensible Markup Language (XML). As a text standard, it is intended to describe 2D-vector graphics and mixed vector/raster graphics and can be edited both in graphic applications and text editors.

Advantages and disadvantages of vector graphics

Here are the pluses and minuses of vector graphics for you to consider which type of graphics would be better for your project.


  • Small file size. As a vector graphic file contain only a small amount of data on shapes and colors, vector graphics can be light in size.
  • You can easily scale a vector, not affecting its quality, due to the fact that it is described with mathematical relationships between the primitives, so the elements stay exact and clear whatever size you set.
  • Easy to manipulate. Simple structures and small sizes of vectors make vector graphics perfect to store and manage on different devices and edit in any proper application.


  • Time and skill requirements. To start creating vector visuals, you have to first learn some specialties of working in a vector graphic application including how to arrange objects, form shapes, and fill figures.
  • Fewer details. Vector files are poor to display subtle details and effects like blending, gradient, or color shading which can be implemented in raster images.
  • Limited use for the web. Vector graphics are scarcely supported by web browsers, and vector technology is insufficient for a bright multicolored web design.

If you try to know a little bit about vector graphics, you’ll surely be able to create a vector image in one of the aforementioned software programs. In addition, there are online services that can help you convert PNG to SVG, for example.

As we can see, vector graphics is a rather useful thing, and they can be a good solution for you to design a logo, a personal stamp, or a stylish business card.