In the world of print design, vector graphics are used all the time. The most common use is a company logo. If you are thinking of getting a logo designed or in process of getting a logo designed, the logo designer will (or is suppose to) supply the final design/artwork in a few usable file formats. In this post I will focus on the file versions in vector format for print design.
What is a file in Vector Format?
Vector graphics are made up with paths. It is defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves and angles along the way. A path can just be a line or it can form a square, triangle or a curvy shape. These paths are used to create from simple drawings to more complex designs. Example formats are .AI, .EPS and .PDF.
When compared to image files (for example JPEGs, GIFs and BMP), they are made up of a grid of pixels. For further reading, I recommend a previous blog post on Printquote: How to supply a logo suitable for print? In this post I am basically making a small addition and to show you a bit more what is going on behind the scenes.
On the topic of paths…
I use Adobe® Illustrator® to create vector graphics. Any reference to tools and methods in this post, refer to using Adobe® Illustrator®. Even though the logo/graphic is in vector, I notice an issue in quite a few logo/graphics I receive.
The above example, the graphic on the left is in Preview mode. In Adobe® Illustrator® any graphic’s outline/wireframe can be viewed when selecting View from the top menu bar under Outline. In this example the outline of the circle is actually just a stroke. This can cause an inconsistency when resizing the shape. It also creates an extra step when changing the colour of the graphic. Shapes and strokes need to be selected individually to change the colour.
When a stroke are resized it actually stay the same thickness and do not resize in proportion to the rest of the elements in the new size. There is a solution to avoid these inconsistencies and to take a step out when changing the colour of a graphic.
- Select the stroke
- Go to Object » Path » Outline Stroke
After the above steps, when the graphic is viewed as Outline, a clear difference is visible, the stroke has become a shape. To change the colour of the graphic, there are no need to try and select all the strokes first and the shapes for another step. All the shapes are without strokes and just with a fill. By resizing the graphic, all the shapes will go in proportion, without any unexpected changes.
I personally think it is necessary to take these extra steps when designing a logo or creating a vector graphic. Especially if it is going to be used with or on a lot of different mediums and by different people.