I'm really an amateur in graphics. However, I've already got the essences of raster and vector graphics. Now my question is how vector graphics are created and viewed.

More specific, how do designers see the great advantages of "vector" over "raster" when they are creating their designs on a "raster" screen, and also how viewers get those advantages when viewing designs on a "raster" screen with "raster" file types and "raster" viewing programs. Is there a mechanism of vector designs to "be alive" in the "raster" cyber-world?

Are vector drawing and viewing programs required for anyone who wants to step in the vector-world?

Thanks in advance!

  • I edited your question, for I found it somewhat unclear and confusing what you're actually asking. Feel free to roll back the edit if things no longer reflect your actual question!
    – Vincent
    Feb 4, 2014 at 10:25

3 Answers 3


As @KMSTR said, one of the most important aspects of vector graphics is the fact that they are resolution-independent. That is, you can create your vector without having to take the ultimate pixel dimensions in mind from the very start of the project. In an increasingly mobile and retina-populated world, this is a very important asset.

It also prevents you from having to create each and every logo you design in a huge (both in digital and optical dimensions) raster file, in case it has to be printed on a scaffolding ad or large billboard. Such a raster file is going to be at least several hundred MBs (uncompressed), while a typical vector file for a logo will be several MBs, tops. This relatively small vector file can serve as a source for any raster file of any size.

Then there's the ease of editing. Especially with advanced options in vector software, it's easy to change a minor detail about a design without having to manually change pixels. Say I designed a web button, but I turn out to have made a typo -- a character is missing. In raster, I'll have to resize the button and the type, manually editing many pixels in the process. In a vector program, I'll edit the text, move a few anchor points around, and my button is ready.

Don't forget that lots of typical raster programs already incorporate many a vector-like function. Type is typically (no pun intended) rendered as vectors, unless you specify otherwise. Shape layers and vector masks are other Photoshop examples just off the top of my head.

  • So, to sum up, vector is mainly for production, industry design. We, non-industry graphic designers and admirers, just play with vector through raster windows. Vector is like clouds storing designs with scalability, etc. When it becomes real, raster must jump in. Also, when we need access to the clouds, we have to use particular programs. Have I got it right? Feb 4, 2014 at 11:17
  • scrathes back of head You're cutting a few corners, but yes, that seems to be the gist of it. All I can advise is to try a vector program for yourself and feel the difference. You'll understand better that way. Inkscape is a great place to start.
    – Vincent
    Feb 4, 2014 at 11:31
  • 1
    But let's try to make web buttons in CSS first. :p
    – Hanna
    Nov 26, 2016 at 23:13

Vectors are reusable.

If you want to cut out raster images the outline is usually a continuous gradient and contains some elements from the background, while vectors look good at any size on any background.

For example, in the My Little Pony community (stick with me here..) it's common to make a vector version for still images and backgrounds from the show. Other people can then take these and use them in comics or Pony music videos (PMVs).

Example comic, note the vectors cited in the description.

Example PMV, references at the end.


Short answer: they are scalable. When you have to scale your artwork up, with vector it's a matter of seconds, while in raster you have to re-create the complete artwork.

  • I've already got that, theoretically. But the point is (for instance) you cannot scale a vector design in the PNG file type. Feb 4, 2014 at 10:38
  • No, but you can create any PNG size from a vector source.
    – KMSTR
    Feb 4, 2014 at 11:14

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