I have designed a logo in Adobe CS5.1 Illustrator using the ellipse tool to create shapes, filled with colour and then added my type.

The file is saved as .ai.

Is it automatically a vector image?

3 Answers 3


There's no way to know for certain without seeing the actual file.

As a guess, I'd say yes, most likely.

Just because you used Illustrator does not automatically mean everything is vector. If you used, blurs, feathers, glows, drop shadows, placed images, photoshop effects within Illustrator, etc. - none of that is vector.

  • Thanks Scott, more useful info... Running the risk of opening a can of worms: Can I use those effects you mentioned and turn them into vector elements?
    – hana
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:45
  • 1
    Hi Hanna, no. They are always raster. When you use them in Illustrator, they get recalculated upon output based upon the Document Raster Effects Settings in the Effects Menu. If you are seeking to create a 100% true vector file, you need to avoid all the items I posted above.
    – Scott
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:51
  • I should add that some raster items can be converted to vector via Illustrator's Image Trace feature. But that feature is often not a viable solution since the nature of raster content often entails subtle variations and tracing isn't great at maintaining those subtle differences. It's difficult to be definitive without seeing the artwork itself.
    – Scott
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:54
  • @hana, Possibly. A blur could be made into a gradient mesh object, same applies to drop shadows (which would be easier to do with the new gradient across stroke, but adobes implementation is a bit ugly). No automatic conversion that does this for you exists.
    – joojaa
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 7:19
  • Cogs turning, brain whirring...great answers guys. Fairly crucial things to know :)
    – hana
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 19:51

If you haven't used any special effects, you should be good, but as Scott said, all special effects will Flatten to Raster (pixels).

The Flattening settings will also effect what gets Rasterized on export.
If you're not sure, use the Flattening Preview.

You can manually Flatten an object be selecting it and going to Object / Flatten Transparency

  • Note the extra box on the bottom example. The Drop Shadow will be rastor inside that shape. Illustrator is basically 'boxing-out' the shadow, which will be made of pixels, not Vector art.

Flatten Transparency

You can also switch to Outline View (Command + Y).
Anything you can see in Outline View will be Vector. Any object that is just a box, or not displayed (like Effects) is not Vector.

  • Wow. Thanks for taking the time to give such a clear explanation!
    – hana
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 19:51

Yes. if you increase the size of your shapes, the quality doesn't reduce. But If you save your Logo in JPG or PNG, It will not more be a vector. If you are going to zoom your PNG or JPG file, You'll see the tiny boxes which are actually pixels

  • yes, when I zoom my logo there are no pixels! That's great. Thanks for the tip about the jpg/png :)
    – hana
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:42

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