Vector Art of the Public Domain

Digital art isn’t just about the pixels. Infinitely scalable art exists too, perfect for billboard advertising. Let’s learn about vectors and vector art.

Rasters and Vectors

If you have browsed our illustrations you have come across many raster images, composed of pixels. Raster images account for the majority of digital images, not only on this website but in general. Common image formats such as JPG, GIF and PNG are all raster formats. Raster images store information about the position and color of each pixel in the image. Since images may contain millions of pixels and colors, raster images are often large file sizes. One issue with raster images is that even the highest quality raster images can become pixelated if stretched to extreme dimensions. While an image might print beautifully as a postcard, it might not look good at all if stretched to a larger size.

The solution that designers use is to work with vectors. Instead of using pixels, vectors are much like a connect-the-dots drawing, composed of paths. Vector images use mathematical equations, lines and curves to create an image without the need for any pixels. Since paths are scalable, vector images can be adjusted to ANY size without losing quality. In fact, with vector images a billboard sized image of a car from the 1920s is as easy to create as a postcard.

image of apperson car vector 1920 vector art
Apperson Car Vector (1920)
image of detail of apperson car vector 1920 vector art
Detail of Apperson Car Vector (1920)

Browse our Vector Art

With this in mind we have been busy converting many of our restored public domain illustrations into vector images. Our vector files are in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format and can be resized freely.

There are now hundreds of illustrations completed, and we even created a few collections.

  • Our Classic Automobile Vectors Collection features 15 cars produced around 1910-1920. While the car factories may be long closed (Haynes, Brush, Baker, Pullman) the designs live on in beautifully restored vectors.
  • Likewise, the Dance of Death Vectors Collection contains 16 etchings from Hans Holbein’s Danse Macabre (1538). These prints were described as the finest woodcuts ever produced. Moreover, we guarantee our vectors are the finest you’ll ever see!
  • And check out the Fancy Dress Vectors Collection. It contains 25 creative costume idea images from Weldon’s practical fancy dress for ladies (1888). You’ll be the talk of the town at your 19th century costume ball!
  • Finally, make some weird art with the Human Oddities Vectors Collection. It has 25 images of monstrous births and other strange historical deformities from the sixteenth century.

Happy designing!

image of classic automobile vectors collection 15 svgs vector art
image of the dance of death vectors collection 16 svgs vector art
image of fancy dress vectors collection 25 svgs vector art
image of human oddities vectors collection 25 svgs vector art

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