Vector Design: A Guide to Understanding Vector Design

In the world of graphic design, vector images are extremely useful to employ in a variety of contexts. There are so many options of pre-made vector designs to choose from, but sometimes you need something more specific or personalized. Logos, diagrams, animations, and more can be made using vector design software. Whether you're an aspiring graphic designer, a small business owner looking to create graphics for your business, or anything in between, understanding vector design is crucial.

What is vector design?

There are two main types of images: bitmap/raster images and vector images. Raster images are comprised of a grid of small pixels where each pixel is a single color. Together the different colored pixels make up the image. While this format can be useful in certain situations, raster images can also experience image distortion and loss in quality if scaled up or manipulated. The pixel grid can end up making the image look pixelated and blocky. Poor quality images can make your designs look cheap or amateur so it's best to avoid this image distortion whenever possible.

Vector images, on the other hand, are defined in terms of straight and curved lines, rather than a grid of pixels. In vector design, attributes like color, curve, and thickness are assigned to the space between two points rather than to a single point. While raster images have only a specific number of dots, vector images do not, so they can be scaled up without significant loss in quality. The lines remain smooth and even rather than taking on the blocky quality of scaled raster images.

When should you use vector design?

Vector design is particularly useful when a design needs to be scaled to various sizes and maintain its quality. Things like logos which need to be usable in a variety of contexts and sizes are ideally created in vector format, as they can be scaled to work for anything from a website logo to a billboard without becoming pixelated or distorted.

Vector images can also be used in a variety of other contexts. They are commonly used by creators of flash animations for their scalability and ease of use. Vector images are also ideal for detailed illustrations, as they can reach a level of precision which can be hard to achieve with raster images.

How to make vector art

Creating vector art can be pretty easy to pick up, especially if you have any experience with drawing. Like drawing, vector art involves taking a subject and breaking it down into the shapes that make it up. A snowman, for instance, is just circles stacked on top of each other. To create a vector image of a snowman, you would create stacked circles and merge them into a single shape. Then two smaller circles for eyes, a triangle for a carrot nose, and suddenly you have a snowman.

Obviously this snowman example is a very simplified explanation, but luckily there's a wealth of tutorials for how to create vector art on the internet. This article from Creative Bloq features a number of helpful tutorials for all skill levels from beginner to expert. There are also plenty of step by step video tutorials on YouTube to help you brush up on your skills.


Vector images can be incredibly useful both in print and digitally. The ability to scale images and designs to virtually any size without losing quality gives vectors a huge advantage over raster images. Beyond that, vector images are also pretty user-friendly. If you want to learn more about vector images and vector design software, check out this guide to vector software, and take a look at CorelDRAW's suite of design tools.

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