Vectors of the Public Domain

If you have browsed our illustration collection 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. An image that prints beautifully as a postcard might not look good at all if stretched to a larger size.

The solution that designers use is to work with vectors. Much like a connect-the-dots drawing, vector images are 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. With vector images a billboard sized image of a car from the 1920s is as easy to create as a postcard.

Apperson Car Vector (1920)
Detail of Apperson Car Vector (1920)

For the past month or so, we have been busy converting many of our restored public domain illustrations into vector images. There are now over 70 illustrations completed, and we even created a vector collection of Victorian costumes. Our vector files are in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format and can be resized freely. Happy designing!

Great Grandmother (1888)
Magpie (1888)
Dutch Girl (1888)

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