Vector graphics are all around us and provide an important way to visually communicate information, whether it’s corporate branding, street signage, or a flyer in a coffee shop window. But vector graphics themselves are even more fascinating when you look behind the shapes and fonts that combine to communicate a message quickly and recognize them for what they really are and why they are such a powerful tool in any designer’s toolbox.

Before we delve into what vector graphics are, let’s clarify the two main types of computer graphics: vectors and rasters. You’re probably already familiar with the latter, thanks to many of the more common file formats – JPEGs and PNGs – that fall into this category. The former is less popular, but essential for digital design, with the most common file formats being EPS, AI, or SVG, among a few other lesser-used types.