In printing, the quality of your final product depends mainly on 2 things: printing equipment, and the artwork file that is sent to production. This blog is filled with articles and tips that have been written to help you optimize your artwork files for commercial printing, so that you are never disappointed with the results.

Today, you found this blog article because you are designing your artwork file, or researching whether you should design it by yourself, and you want to know our recommendations for the best websites from which to download free vector graphics. Being in the business, we definitely tried them all and know the best ones out there! But before we start on sharing the actual websites, we would like to take the opportunity to focus a bit more on the differences between vector and raster graphics, as well as the advantages of vector graphics for printing.

If you’re an experienced artwork pro, you likely know this already, so feel free to scroll down to our selection of websites.  

What are Vector Graphics?

Vector and Raster picture

Usually, the word vector is a scary one. For most of us, it brings back memories of mathematics class in high school, bad grades, disappointed parents, and angry teachers. Fun times. But worry not, because we’re not gonna go all vector calculus on you now.

In graphic design language, a vector graphic is simply a graphical element (shape, image, and so on) that is made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny lines and curves - called vectors - instead of being made up of pixels, like raster graphics. The reason why such files are called vector graphics, is because they are composed of a set of mathematical information that determines the position, direction, magnitude, color, and more of each single vector in the file. Vector files are created and edited in software such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Macromedia, and so on.

On the contrary, raster (or bitmap) graphics are made up of pixels, which only contain color information. Pixels are the small squares or dots that you can obviously see when you enlarge any raster image. For example, the photographs that are taken with your phone’s camera or your standalone camera are always raster files, since they are made up of pixels. Such files can also be edited with software such as Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Corel Photo-Paint, and more.

Why Should You Use Vector Graphics for Artwork Design?

The main benefit associated with using vector graphics for artwork design is that you are not limited in terms of image resolution. A common problem with artwork files that get sent to printing houses is that they contain raster images with a resolution that is too low to ensure high quality prints. When the resolution of an image is too low, the print is likely to come out blurry. That is because when raster images get enlarged, the pixels also get enlarged and image quality gets lost because you end up visibly seeing the enlarged squares.

Using vector graphics directly curbs that issue, since you can enlarge vectors as much as you want without losing any quality. Indeed, image resolution doesn’t apply at all to vector graphics, since they are not composed of pixels. That is why when you print a vector in any size, its quality will always be super sharp. For more details on the difference between vector and raster graphics, check out this blog post.

The only advantage of raster images is that they can offer a level of detail that cannot be matched by vector graphics. That’s why you can also not use vector graphics for every single thing. Anything that needs to look real will need to be represented by a high-resolution pixel image. It is often also necessary to use raster images in your artwork, but it is crucial that their resolution exceeds 300dpi! Here’s more information on how you can check your images’ resolution in dpi. A resolution of at least 300dpi is necessary to ensure that image quality remains OK when images are enlarged and printed.

Below is a visual representation of what vector and raster graphics look like after being enlarged. As you can see, there is one point where the raster graphic will start obviously showing the square pixels. Vectors though, can be enlarged as much as you can possibly want, without losing any quality. That is why vectors are the obvious choice for any logos, and non-photographic graphical elements that appear in your artwork.

Vector and Raster Graphics - The Differences

Now that you know the differences between vector and raster graphics, as well as their respective advantages, let’s dive into our overview of the 10 best websites to DOWNLOAD FREE VECTOR GRAPHICS

  1. 1.FREEPIK


    Freepik is probably one of the most popular vector download websites that designers like to use. It is extremely popular, and therefore has a very wide choice of vectors and raster images, with modern or classic designs, and in a lot of different styles. You can really find everything from icons and cartoons, to backgrounds and products. All you need to do is type in what you need. Many vectors are free, but there are also some paid ones, which however are quite affordable.

    Visit Website




    This website is focused purely on Icons. You can download vector icons from a wide variety of categories, to match your artwork. It’s probably one of the best choices out there for icons, especially if you like the minimalist kind.

    Visit Website Thenounproject



    Another website that most designers would recommended because of how user-friendly the website is. It’s pleasant to browse and contains a lot of cute icons, banners, and other artwork.

    Visit Website Vecteezy



    Dryicons is also one of those websites which focuses on icons. It’s a great resource if you are looking for icons that need to be in a very particular style. Whether is for your website or your print artwork, it’s likely that you will find all the icons you ever need right here.

    Visit Website Dryicons



    This website offers a good combination of free icons, banners, and other kinds of artwork. You can easily search the website with the search bar.

    Visit Website Freevectors



    If you are looking for free Vector Backgrounds, maybe 123Freevectors would be a great website for you to find that easily. Just check out their website and vectors.

    Visit Website 123freevectors



    You can easily find the graphics that you want by choosing the category that you are interested in.  Doesn’t matter if it’s backgrounds, icons, brushes, styles, fonts, patterns and more!

    Visit Website 1001FREEDOWNLOADS

    8. VEXELS


    Ready-made Graphic Vectors can be downloaded right from the website. Vexels is a great resource for cool-looking and hip graphics that stand out from other styles.

    Visit Website Vexels



    Vectorportal is a great website if you are looking for elements to make a logo. This website has so many elements that can match any kind of business or any printing design that you are working on.

    Visit Website Vectorportal

    10. STOCKIO


    More than just vectors, this website also offers pictures in very high quality, which would be a great choice for print artwork. More than vectors and pictures, you can even download fonts and videos right from the website.

    Visit Website Stockio