The Complete Guide to Vector Image Files

What is a vector image file?

A vector image file is the digital file type that a vector image is saved as. Unlike raster image files, which are built from pixels, a vector image is constructed using mathematical formulas. Vector image files are used in projects that frequently need resizing, such as logos and other branding for advertisements, animations, and vehicle wraps.

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A vector image file is exported from the vector software in which it was created. Most vector software like CorelDRAW can export image files in a range of vector file types, meaning that files can be adjusted and manipulated in a range of different software. So if your client’s team has created the initial version of a logo in Illustrator, they can send you an EPS file that you can open up in CorelDRAW to complete.

What vector image file types are there?

There is a wide range of different vector image file types. The file extension of a vector file relates to the type of file it is, which might vary depending on the software in which it was created or the file type it was exported as. Let’s take a look at some of the different vector image file types available to designers.

How to make a vector image

EPS files - or Encapsulated Postscript files - are a common file type for artwork such as logos and drawings. They can be used across different operating systems, so users can work on the same file freely on both Mac and Windows devices. EPS files can be opened in software like Illustrator, PHOTO-PAINT, and CorelDRAW and converted into raster files such as PDF, JPG, PNG and TIFF.

AI files are created by Adobe Illustrator. Most users of Illustrator create logos, illustrations, print layouts, and incorporate images with typography. Within Illustrator, designers can export vector images to a range of different file types, but AI files can only be opened and edited within Adobe Illustrator.

SVG files - or Scalable Vector Graphics files - are vector image files widely used on the web. It’s an open standard file, meaning that most displays and software can read and manipulate SVG files. Logos, icons, illustrations, special effects, and web-based interfaces and applications all work well with SVG files.

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CDR files - or CorelDRAW files - are vector images files that have been created within or exported from the CorelDRAW vector image software. CDR files match characteristics with other vector images such as being able to scale without the loss of quality but are designated for use only within Corel software. CDR files can be used interchangeably with CorelDRAW and other Corel platforms and can be converted into other vector image file types such as EPS and SVG from within CorelDRAW.

PDF files - or Portable Document files - were designed for the exchange of documents between users. They can be created within most vector image software, although they can also be raster images. A PDF is a general-purpose file type you’ve almost certainly come across before, and many products designed for printing - like brochures, magazines, pamphlets, and letterheads - are saved as a PDF file.