The Art of Graphics

Whether you're working with vector or raster images, understanding the basics of graphic design, such as color models and design principles, is essential. 

Design is not for philosophy, it’s for life. — Issey Miyake

Key Things to Know

A brief overview of various graphic formats and colour models to help you understand the basics of graphic design and choose the right tools for your projects. 

  • SVG

    Scalable Vector Graphics

    SVG is a vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. Unlike raster graphics, SVG images can be scaled to any size without losing quality, making them ideal for logos, icons, and web graphics.
  • RGB

    RGB Colour Model

    The RGB colour model is a colour space used in digital graphics, based on the additive colour theory. It combines red, green, and blue light in various intensities to create a wide spectrum of colours. This model is ideal for screens and digital displays.
  • CMYK

    CMYK Colour Model

    CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black) and is a subtractive colour model used in colour printing. This model mixes these ink colours in various amounts to create a wide range of colours. It's the standard for print media.
  • EPS

    Encapsulated PostScript

    EPS is a vector-based graphic file format that also includes embedded raster graphics. It's often used for high-resolution images in the printing industry because it can be resized without losing quality.
  • JPEG


    JPEG is a widely used digital image format, especially for photographs. It uses lossy compression to reduce file size, which can lead to a decrease in image quality with high compression rates.
  • PNG


    PNG is a raster graphics file format that supports lossless data compression. It's commonly used on the internet for images that require transparency and for images where quality preservation is important.
  • PSD

    Photoshop Document

    PSD is a layered image file used in Adobe Photoshop. It's a proprietary file that allows the user to work with the images' individual layers even after the file has been saved.
  • AI

    Adobe Illustrator

    AI is a proprietary file format developed by Adobe Systems for representing single-page vector-based drawings in either the EPS or PDF formats. It's commonly used for creating logos, illustrations, and print layouts.

Colour Models in Graphics

Colour models are integral to the creation of vector graphics. They define the colour space, or the range of colours, that can be represented in a vector image.

RGB Colour Model

The RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour model is used for digital displays. Colours are created by combining red, green, and blue light at various intensities.

CMYK Colour Model

The CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black) colour model is used for printed materials. Colours are created by combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink.

Pantone Colour System

The Pantone system is a proprietary colour space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, and occasionally in manufacturing coloured paint, fabric, and plastics.

Colour Conversion

Converting colours between models can be complex as each model has a different colour range. Tools like Adobe Illustrator can help with accurate conversions.

Colour Profiles

Colour profiles help ensure that colours appear the same across different devices. They define how a device interprets a particular colour model.

Converting Between Colour Models

When necessary, convert RGB to CMYK (or vice versa) using graphic design software. Be mindful of colour shifts and adjustments for accurate print reproduction.

Adjusting Colour Depth

In your image editing software, select the appropriate colour depth for your project's needs. Higher colour depth allows for more colours and smoother gradients but can increase file size.

Understanding Bit Channels

Recognise how bits per channel influence the total number of colours. For example, an 8-bit channel provides 256 possibilities per channel, leading to millions of colour combinations in RGB.

Summary of Technical Steps

Choose the correct colour model (RGB for digital or CMYK for print) before starting your project. Convert between colour models with care, adjusting for colour shifts. Select the appropriate colour depth based on the project requirements and file size considerations. Calibrate your monitor and use ICC profiles to maintain colour accuracy and consistency across devices and mediums.

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. — Salvador Dali 

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are images created using lines, shapes, and mathematical formulas rather than pixels. This allows them to be scaled to any size without losing quality.


Vector graphics can be resized to any dimension without losing image quality, which is a significant advantage over raster (pixel-based) graphics.

File Formats

The most common vector file formats are SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), AI (Adobe Illustrator), and EPS (Encapsulated PostScript). These formats ensure that vector images can be easily shared, edited, and used across different platforms and devices.

Creation and Editing

Vector graphics are created and edited with specific software like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and Inkscape. These tools provide a wide range of features for drawing, shaping, and colouring vector images.


They are ideal for logos, icons, illustrations, and design elements that need to maintain their quality across various sizes and mediums, such as print, web, and multimedia.

Web Compatibility

SVG, a vector format, is particularly useful for web use because it supports interactivity and animation. It can be manipulated with CSS and JavaScript, making it versatile for responsive web design.

Print Quality

For print materials, vector graphics ensure that the design remains clear and crisp, regardless of the size. This is crucial for business cards, banners, and other printed marketing materials

File Size

Vector files are often smaller than raster images, especially for designs that are less complex. This makes them faster to load on websites and easier to share.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. — Steve Jobs

Bitmap Graphics

Bitmap graphics are images made up of individual pixels. Each pixel is assigned a specific color, creating a mosaic of pixels that forms an image. This format is ideal for complex images with lots of detail, like photographs.

Detail and Realism

Bitmap graphics can represent complex images with a high level of detail and realism, which is why they are commonly used for photographs and digital art.

File Formats

The most common bitmap file formats are JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), PNG (Portable Network Graphics), and GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). These formats are widely supported across different platforms and devices.

Creation and Editing

Bitmap graphics are created and edited with software like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.NET. These tools provide a wide range of features for manipulating individual pixels and applying effects.


They are ideal for photographs, digital art, and any design elements that require a high level of detail and realism.

Web Compatibility

JPEG and PNG, bitmap formats, are widely used on the web. They support varying levels of compression, which can be adjusted to balance image quality and file size.

Print Quality

For print materials, the quality of bitmap graphics depends on their resolution. High-resolution images can produce excellent print results, but they also result in larger file sizes.

File Size

Bitmap files can be large, especially for high-resolution images. However, they can be compressed to reduce file size, with a trade-off in image quality.

Creating both vector and bitmap images, with a focus on color models and design principles.


Typography is the art of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. It involves choosing typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking).

Importance of Typography in Design

Understanding and applying the principles of typography is crucial for any design project. It not only makes your content more accessible and enjoyable to read but also significantly contributes to the overall impact and effectiveness of your design.

Select Typefaces That Reflect the Project's Tone

Choose typefaces that match the mood, tone, and purpose of your content. For instance, serif fonts often convey tradition and reliability, while sans-serif fonts are seen as modern and clean.

Consider the Readability for Various Mediums

Ensure the typeface you choose is legible in the context it will be used, whether print or digital.

Consistency Across Design Elements

Maintain consistency in your typographical choices across different parts of your design to create a cohesive look and feel.

Employ Hierarchical Typography to Guide Readers

Use different font sizes, weights, and styles to create a visual hierarchy that guides the reader through the content effectively.

Use Kerning and Tracking for Balanced Spacing

Adjust the space between specific pairs of letters (kerning) and the overall spacing across words and sentences (tracking) to create a more harmonious and legible text.

Adjust Leading to Enhance Readability

Properly set line spacing (leading) to improve the text's readability, especially for large blocks of text. A general rule is to set leading to 120%-145% of the font size.

The best way to accomplish serious design…is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job. — Paula Scher

FAQs: Bitmap Graphics, Vector Graphics and Typography

Common questions about bitmap and vector graphics, their differences, uses, and how they are produced.

  • What is a Bitmap Image?

    Bitmap images are digital pictures composed of many tiny, coloured squares (pixels). They represent detailed and complex images like photographs with precision.
  • How Do Bitmap Images Differ from Vector Images?

    Unlike vector images, which are based on mathematical formulas and scale without losing quality, bitmap images lose clarity when scaled up because they are made of a fixed number of pixels.
  • How do I create vector graphics?

    Vector graphics are typically created using specialised software like Adobe Illustrator. These programs allow users to draw and manipulate shapes using various tools and effects.
  • What file formats are used for vector graphics?

    Common vector graphic formats include SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), AI (Adobe Illustrator), and EPS (Encapsulated PostScript). Each format has its own advantages and is used for different purposes.
  • What's the difference between RGB and CMYK?

    RGB is used for digital displays and combines red, green, and blue light. CMYK is for print and uses cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black) inks.
  • Why is typography important in graphics?

    Typography improves the readability, accessibility, and aesthetic appeal of written content in graphic design. It influences how readers perceive and engage with the material.
  • What are the three main types of typography?

    The three main types of typography are serif, sans-serif, and script. Serif fonts have small lines attached to the end of their letters, sans-serif fonts do not, and script fonts are based on handwriting.
  • Is typography good or bad?

    Typography can be good or bad depending on how well it serves its purpose. Good typography improves readability, accessibility, and the aesthetic appeal of text, while bad typography can make text hard to read and understand.
  • What is the most common typography?

    One of the most common typographies is the sans-serif type, often used for its clarity and readability on digital screens, with Arial and Helvetica being popular examples.
  • What is leading vs kerning in typography?

    Leading in typography refers to the vertical space between lines of text, which affects readability. Kerning is the adjustment of space between individual pairs of letters to ensure that the spacing looks consistent and balanced.
  • What is positive leading in typography?

    Positive leading in typography occurs when the space between lines of text is increased beyond the default setting. This can improve readability, especially in dense blocks of text, by giving each line more breathing room.
  • What is the role of whitespace in typography?

    Whitespace in typography helps to create a balance and hierarchy in the design. It improves readability and the overall aesthetic appeal of the text.
  • What Are the Most Common Bitmap Formats?

    JPEG is widely used for photos due to its efficient compression, PNG supports transparency and is ideal for web graphics, GIF is best for simple animations, and BMP offers high quality with no compression.
  • What are the advantages of vector graphics over raster graphics?

    Vector graphics can be scaled infinitely without losing clarity or quality, making them ideal for logos and design elements. In contrast, raster graphics become pixelated when enlarged.
  • Can vector graphics be used for web design?

    Yes, vector graphics are widely used in web design because they can scale to fit different screen sizes without losing quality. Formats like SVG are specifically designed for the web.
  • Can Bitmap Images Be Converted to Vector?

    Yes, through a process called tracing, bitmap images can be converted into vector graphics, but the success and accuracy of this conversion depend on the image's complexity and the software used.
  • How does colour depth affect my images?

    Colour depth affects the number of colours that can be displayed or printed, influencing the image's quality and file size. Higher colour depths offer more colours and smoother transitions.
  • What is typography vs font?

    Typography is the art of arranging type, encompassing many considerations such as spacing, size, and layout. A font is a specific style and size of type within a typeface family, such as Times New Roman, size 12.
  • What is text in typography?

    In typography, text refers to the actual written content that is being arranged. It can vary from a single letter to an entire book's content, and the typography will dictate how this text is visually presented.
  • Is it easy to learn typography?

    Learning the basics of typography can be straightforward with study and practice, but mastering it takes time and experience, as it's a blend of art and design principles.
  • What does kerning mean in typography?

    Kerning in typography means adjusting the space between individual letter pairs to correct spacing issues that can make certain letter combinations look awkward or unevenly spaced.
  • What is an example of leading in typography?

    An example of leading in typography is the vertical space between lines of text. If a font size is 12 points, setting leading at 14 points would create a comfortable reading experience.
  • What is the difference between a typeface and a font?

    A typeface is a family of related fonts, while a font is one weight, width, and style of that typeface. For example, Arial is a typeface, and Arial Bold is a font.

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