The world of stock photography has been shaken up over the last few years with the rise and growth of a number of websites offering free photos that Graphic Designers can download and use within their work.
The quality of such imagery can be at times variable, but there are many talented photographers making high quality photography freely available and now there are also a number of sites offering free vector line graphics.
What are Vector Line Graphics
Vector line graphics are produced in design applications such as Adobe Illustrator or the free open source program Inkscape. The great advantage of vector line graphics is that they can be resized infinitely, meaning that the same graphic file can be used to produce art work for a business card or for an exhibition backdrop without any loss of quality.
Images used by image editors such as Gimp or Adobe Photoshop are referred to as raster images and, unlike vector line graphics, cannot be successfully increased in size to any great degree without the image quality declining.
Two common file formats for vector line graphics are SVG, which is an open standard and AI, which is the proprietary file format used by Adobe Illustrator. Probably the most popular other file format for vector line images is EPS (Encapsulated Post Script), but one word of caution is that Adobe Photoshop produces a form of EPS that is in fact a raster image.
Where to Download Free Vector Line Graphics
There are a number of websites now offering free vector images for download and entering a search term like ‘free vector graphics’ into Google or another search engine will bring up a range of results.
One of the best known of the vector sites is Vecteezy which allows users to browse through all the downloadable files or enter a search term to look for specific results. They have also added a section offering vector graphics for sale.
Another popular vectors only site is www.Vector4Free.com, however the site doesn’t offer a search option, so users have to browse through all the files on the site.
Possibly a less well known option for finding free vector line graphics is to look on some of the free stock photo websites. For instance entering the term ‘vector’ into the search box of stock.xchng returns pages of vector line graphics.
Wherever the vector line graphics are downloaded from, one important point for Graphic Designers to remember is that they must check the licence terms specific to each download. While all these sites offer free downloads, some files may have restrictions upon how they can be used.
How to Use Free Vector Line Graphics
One of the great things about free vector line images is that they can be easily edited and changed using a vector line application, though there maybe some file format difficulties depending on the original software used to create a graphic and the application being used to open it.
If a vector image is successfully opened, then a Graphic Designer should be able to easily make changes such as changing colors so that the image better fits in with an overall design. The graphic can then be imported into a DTP or page layout program and used as one element of a larger design.
Vector line graphics can be very useful in a wide range of designs, particularly when a Graphic Designer cannot find a suitable photo at a suitable size, quality or price.