What is a vector format? - Concept C | Agence web

What is a vector format?

Have you ever been asked by a graphic designer or printer to send your logo in vector format? An image WITH vectors? A logo NOT compressed? Did you have no clue what that it meant? And the question “What is the meaning of the universe?” might be simpler?

We’ll give you answers here. Now!

First, when we say that an image is in vector format, we mean that it is made up of vectors. A vector is a point to which mathematical data from linear algebra is assigned. And… If you are a visual person like us, you probably didn’t get it!


Let’s simplify.


This is a way of making drawings from geometric shapes that are made up of mathematical points rather than a flattened image. This means that we can magnify and modify the geometric shape without pixelating, losing the quality or clarity in our illustration. Pixels are mathematically multiplied, not stretched, so they will maintain their sharpness no matter how you distort them.

For example :

If you were asked to draw a small square and then told to redraw that same square bigger, that would still be easy since the image is limited to straight geometric lines. If, on the other hand, you are asked the same thing with a landscape photo, it might be much more difficult. The concept of vectors is the same. The image created from dots and lines can be infinitely modified since it is simple and generated by a mathematical formula and not by a raster of pixels (It is an expanse of small colored dots that make up a image. They do not multiply, but become distorted when the size of the image is changed. We speak of a raster application. The software to prioritize are then Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.)
Raster is ​​for photos; vectorial, for logos.


We can recognize a vector image by the fact that it is “sharp”, therefore not fuzzy and that it is of format .ai (source file), .pdf , .svg, or .eps. You can also get curves, gradients, transparency, and shapes that are organic enough to create detailed illustrations, since the controls used in good vector software are steroid-boosted.

Vectors are used to make logos, since these often have to be printed in large formats. (There are logos on airplanes, even!) They should be able to be changed endlessly without being constrained by loss of resolution at magnification.


WARNING ! If your logo is in .png, .jpg, or worse .doc (please no!), that means your vectors have been compressed and rasterized. They can therefore no longer be enlarged or modified. However, these formats are desirable (except .doc) for the Web, as they are very light.


The prominent software for vectors in Adobe is Illustrator.

Vectors are mostly used for:

Vectors can’t:


Photo touch ups and filters


Complex text layouts


Complex textures


Some commands allow you to vectorize an image. However, during this process a great loss of information is inevitable, which sometimes simplifies the picture in an unrecognizable way. The image must be very contrasting and of high quality in order to achieve successful vectorization.

In conclusion, vectors make it possible to create geometric images that can be enlarged to infinity thanks to their mathematical faculties. What a time to be alive!

The important thing to remember is that when someone asks you for a vector image (often your logo), they expect to receive an uncompressed document (.ai, .pdf, .svg or .eps) , which contains the editable vector points, in order to apply it correctly at the desired size and resolution.

What about the meaning of the universe in all of this? Ask Neil deGrass Tyson…

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