What is a vector graphic?

A vector graphic is the most important piece of your branding. Most businesses have graphics that are used in their day to day business marketing, like their logo, icon, or other word mark for a company division. A vector graphic differs from a raster graphic (I will explain raster graphics another time) in that you can increase the size of a vector graphic from 1 inch tall to a mile high and not loose any resolution. This is important if you ever plan on having a sign made, or a clean graphic for print projects.

A vector graphic literally is a set of lines with fill color in them. That’s it. Sometimes there are gradients, but usually they are NOT too intense because those are created through a raster process. Without the line structure it’s a raster graphic, which is made up of pixels, and a raster graphic is only as good as the amount of dpi (dots per inch) it’s saved as.

Vector graphics traditionally come in the follow file formats: EPS, PDF,  AI and CDR. The AI and CDR are created in the Adobe and Corel Draw suite of products, respectively. But, one thing of note, Photoshop creates EPS files. This is not the same file type as Adobe or Corel Draw creates, and it’s important to delineate because I have seen where an uninformed designer drops a raster graphic into a vector program and calls it a vector graphic.  It is not.

When I create logo files I always provide vector graphics to my clients. Some clients may use them, some may not. I’ve also spent time creating several vector graphics for clients. Often times a client has an old graphic and they need it updated and it’s important to have an update that includes the creation of a vector graphic.

Remember, if you are going to pay to have a logo designed, make sure you get the vector graphic and make sure your design converts any fonts into lines, that way you don’t need to have the font to make the graphic work.

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