Does Your Illustration Project Require Vectorization?

Does your illustration project require vectorization? That question is one of the first questions that I ask people calling for illustration work. Now if I asked people that outright they wouldn’t be able to answer so I have to change the wording which looks like this, “Where will be using the final illustration?” When the customer answers that question it will then answer the first question of do you need vectorization?

What is vectorization?

Vectorization is a process that allows an illustration to be resized to any size and still stay crisp and sharp. This allows an image like a logo to be put on a business card or on the side of a tractor trailer and look exactly the same. The process is done by by having an artist either trace an existing image or use a specific program to create the image. Vectorized images normally cost more due to the specialized programs and advanced skill of the artist as the programs can be quite complex and expensive to purchase.


Why You Should Know About Vectorization Up Front?

Over my decade of doing logo design many of the calls we get is to fix a logo that was created by another artist and now needs to be vectorized. Many small businesses create logos thinking of letterhead and other administrative uses and settle for someone that just draws something up on paper or they use an image like a photo in the logo that will not translate well when vectorized. The business owner is okay with this until the business grows and they want to add their logo on hats, signs, or even tractor trailers. This is when they find out the original logo won’t work. At that point we either create a new logo or redo the old one if possible.

Does Illustration Outside of Logos Need to be Vectorized?

I recently had a customer call and ask for pricing on an illustration. The image was of five superheroes bursting out of a single point in the background. He wanted his team imposed in the illustration and he was then mounting it almost life size on the back wall of their office. This illustration would require vectorization to be able to be mounted at that size. The price was not what he was hoping for!

How to Know if You Need Vectorization?

  1. The easiest way to know whether vectorization will be required for your project is knowing how it will be used in the end and how large the image has to be. A good general rule of thumb is that if the completed image will be over 22 inches by 30 inches in size then it will need to be vectorized. There are exceptions to this rule depending on the artist and whether hand painted or not.
  2. The second way of telling if your illustration or logo needs to be vectorized is if you will be using the image on clothing or other materials. Many of those applications require an image be vectorized.
  3. So if you have an illustration project and aren’t sure if you need vectorization or not then knowing your end use for the illustration will be a good step to getting the proper pricing and artist for success.

About the Artist

Bruce Outridge Productions offers custom illustration and design services specializing in caricatures and cartoons. Logo design and corporate illustration is part of the company portfolio. To learn more about our services by artist Bruce Outridge or to talk about your project visit