In short, a vector file is a scalable image that you can make really big or really small without losing any quality, it’ll be crisp, sharp, and not pixelate when using it.
It can be .ai, .eps, .svg, or .pdf (if saved properly from the right programs – I have unfortunately been given “vector files” that were just a jpg saved with a different file extension. (File Types explained)
Will I ever use it? Do I really need it?
Yes and no. You absolutely need it for any logo design or illustration that is going to be scaled up, but it’s a file that you’ll provide to your designer or printer. They will LOVE you for providing a vector file!
A lot of printers actually have to recreate designs that weren’t given to them in the proper format and this just drags the process along and can cost you more money cause it’s not their primary job. A printer should just make sure the provided materials are in the right color settings and that everything is aligned correctly within margins and with proper bleed. It’s not their job to vectorize things.
It’s a service I offer on the side as well so if you need your image turned into a vector let me know. There are lots of amazing artists out there but not everyone is a graphic designer and understands the importance of this file type.
Do you need it for personal use?
Not unless you use a cutting or 3D printing machine (ex. Cricut, Cameo, CNC, laser, etc.). I provide all my clients with jpg, and png files that they can use on any materials they’d like.
A JPG is an image with a solid color background, and a PNG has/can have a transparent background. Both of these files are raster images, which means they are based on a set number of pixels and can only be enlarged up to the size that they were saved in. I can always provide different file sizes upon request but that’s also what your vector file is for ;).
BUT if you are designing your own business cards or other printed materials and pixelation is an issue you should absolutely be using a vector file for your logo. This is why I offer design services for a wide variety of marketing materials. I want to make sure that everything that has your name on it is perfect and represents your business in the BEST possible way.
How can I use my vector files?
There are specific programs that can open and edit vector files. This includes Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Publisher, and Adobe InDesign can open them and edit a bit (there are others but I can’t think of them right now lol – the three I mentioned are the most common and the ones with the most support available). I don’t use a Cricut or similar machine but those also come with their own program that works with vector graphics.
Do you need something converted into a vector file?
Let me know and I would be more than happy to help!
More words to read:
Here’s the wonderfully technical explanation copied from Adobe’s website that I honestly find fascinating cause technology is amazing!
“Vector files are images that are built by mathematical formulas that establish points on a grid. Raster files are composed of the colored blocks commonly referred to as pixels. Because they can infinitely adjust in size without losing resolution, vector files are more versatile for certain types of tasks than raster files. The most common types of vector files are:
.ai: Short for Adobe Illustrator, this file is commonly used in print media and digital graphics, such as logos.
.eps: Encapsulated PostScript is an older type of vector graphics file. .eps files don’t support transparency in the way more modern file formats like .ai do.
.pdf: The Portable Document Format is built for the exchange of documents across platforms and is editable in Adobe Acrobat.
.svg: The Scalable Vector Graphics format is based in XML (a markup language used widely across the Internet that’s readable by both machines and humans). It’s useful for the web, where it can be indexed, searched, and scripted.”
Wasn’t that so eloquently put? I didn’t even have to explain the file types. 🙂
If you have any questions feel free to reach out! I’m always available and excited to explain all the technical stuff that is behind what I do for you!