The Guide to Vector Design

Develop your edge as an artist and designer with CorelDRAW’s Guide to Vector Design. Learn the basics of vector graphics and design, and feel empowered to tackle any challenge that comes your way.

digital painting of person with pink glasses and mask

Get Started Making Vector Art

Are you ready to make vector art? We've covered the core elements in our Guide to Vector Design, including its history, usage, and how to launch a career in vector art and illustration.

While this information does provide you with a starting point, there's so much more to learn as you hone your skills. From choosing the right graphic design software to developing the right skills and finding vector art inspiration, every decision will play into your future success as a vector artist. Keep these tips in mind as you start making vector art.

Choosing the Right Vector Graphics Software

It's hard to know what you don't know – and that's particularly true when trying to choose a software program for something you're inexperienced with. Over time, you'll develop preferences, and your software of choice will become part of your creative process. Meanwhile, you might be using a little trial and error to see what you like. As you begin to try some programs out, consider:

  • Operating System
  • Price
  • Features
digital illustration of person working at computer

Operating System Compatibility

It might seem obvious, but the first thing to look for is compatibility with different operating systems. For example, CorelDRAW is available for Windows and Mac, but that's not guaranteed with every program. If you use a Chromebook or tablet, you'll also want to double-check compatibility.

Pricing Model

Once you have the right OS, the next hurdle is to find an appropriately priced software to make vector art. Some programs are paid for in one installment, giving you ownership of the program forever. Others use an increasingly common pricing model of a subscription-based service. You might expect to pay $10 or $20 per month for access to software rather than owning it. Some are free, like open-source software is, for example. The cost will be an accessibility factor; consider that free or budget-friendly options may lack key features.


With the selections narrowed down to your operating system and budget, it's time to dig into the features available with different programs. Don't assume that one program is the same as another–design options, user interface, and tool integrations can all vary from one program to another.

For example, CorelDRAW is widely recognized as an intuitive and easy-to-learn graphic design software, while many other products come with a steep learning curve. Consider how easy it is to locate and access your project files, what formats are available for exporting, and what built-in tools make it easier to create a vector image.

In CorelDRAW, you can use built-in tools for quick perspective drawings, replace colors with one click, or collaborate in real-time with live comments. These features are included to make the overall design process easy and intuitive. Designing the same art in another program might be more labor-intensive because key productivity features are missing. So, really think about how you will use the program and what features are the most important to your creative process.

Still on the fence? Learn more about choosing the right software to create a vector image.

Tools and Technology Needed for Creating Vector Art

Creating art in a digital medium, like vectors, requires digital tools. At a minimum, you'll need a device compatible with your graphic design software to make vector art. For most, this means a Windows-based PC or Mac. If you're buying a new device, pay close attention to the graphics card and display properties and opt for a device with a multi-core processor for a fast, responsive experience.

Consider adding mobile devices or peripherals to augment your creative process for more flexibility. A 2-in-1 laptop with a touchscreen and drawing stylus can keep you creative on the go. And specialty tools like drawing pads, flatbed scanners, and digital photography equipment can help you turn your physical works of art into vectors for the digital world.

digital illustration of graphic design devices on desk

Design Skills for Creative Success

Vector art is a new medium for beginner and seasoned artists to explore. It's a tech-enabled medium designed for the digital world, and it's providing artists around the world with new opportunities to explore their art, express themselves, and turn their creative passion into viable income streams.

Key vector art skills include:

  • An eye for design
  • Good command of color and balance
  • Ability to visually express an idea
  • Experience with drawing or painting techniques

Creating a vector image is relatively straightforward, making this medium particularly accessible to beginners. Still, mastering foundational knowledge and drawing techniques will help you make better vector art, and the key is to keep learning and building your portfolio.

Many of the most successful vector artists are at least partly self-taught. Cristiano Siqueira is a recognizable name in vector art – he landed work with big brands like ESPN and Nike. In an interview with Talk Illustration, Cristiano mentioned that he is approximately half self-taught, relying on tutorials to master new skills, blending his real-world art with vector graphics to produce his signature style.

Get Inspired to Make Vector Art

Being creative and being inspired to create are two very different things. Many famous painters talk about how intimidating a blank canvas can be. Across the creative world, musicians, choreographers, photographers, illustrators, and the like all wrestle with finding that creative spark. If you sit down to make vector art and feel like you're drawing a blank, there are plenty of places to find inspiration.

Our favorite digital inspiration spaces are:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Behance
  • Dribble
  • Awwwards

Creative inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Artists like Maryanne Nguyen take inspiration from the mundane tasks of everyday life. And Austin, Texas-based vector artist Reannon Overbey relies on her love of dogs, cartoon and real, to make vector art.

image of green and pink cutout collage

Final Thoughts and Parting Advice

Vector design is an exciting digital medium gaining popularity for illustrators and graphic designers. This guide has hit all the key points to provide you with a foundation of knowledge in vector graphics and art.

Now it's time to try your hand and create your own vector images. As you dive into the digital world of vector art, watch for additional resources from CorelDRAW to learn more about core features in our graphic design software and other popular design tools.

Start designing with CorelDRAW

Try CorelDRAW today for free, and take advantage of powerful tools for vector illustration, page layout, and more. Start creating today!

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