While Canva offers free graphics and images if you don’t find what you need online free vector graphics might be the perfect solution. The biggest reason some folks don’t use vectors is that online editors don’t understand the file format. Canva won’t even let you upload files unless they are either jpg or png. But there are several Canva vector graphic options that let you easily and effortlessly use vectors by resaving the vector file into a format that Canva handles.
So don’t let vector file formats stop you from using vector resources. Converting a vector file is easy with several free editors that recognize the vector format.
Why use vectors with Canva or any free editor?
# 1 – As I mentioned, you might not find the right image, icon or illustration as a JPG or PNG, but it might be available as a vector and you simply need to convert it.
# 2 – Icons and in particular graphics found in widgets, sales pages, sidebars, footers, and headers start as vectors.
Most icons and graphic elements are created using vector editors. If you’re lucky they get converted to JPG/PNG formats for you.
I’ve always ended up converting vector graphics into web-friendly versions for every website I’ve created. Examples of graphics I’ve converted include mailbox or email icons, computer graphic illustrations, help buttons, graphical PDF or document icons to name a few, but the list is actually endless. And I’ve certainly created a few vectors of my own, but since I created them I always save both the vector file and the web-friendly version that any editor understands. The point I’m making is converting a vector into a PNG or JPG is very much like taking a Word document and saving it as a PDF.
Many of the vectors I converted from SVG, AI, PSD or EPS file to JPG or PNG allowed me to re-purposed the graphic as an icon for services widget, an illustration for a sales page funnel, a graphic for a sidebar, footer or header. Converting free vector graphics for landing pages, pop-up subscription forms, and templates provide a great opportunity to create attractive and unique webpages and forms for your business. That’s why this simple process is essential.
Converted vectors are handy for all kinds of online reasons: websites, social media, and print. In my opinion, converting files to web useable formats is a necessary skill. There are free editors that can act as vector converters but converting files depends on the original vector format. Converting a vector file is just as easy with the right free vector editor.
What exactly is a vector?
Vector files are made by using mathematical formulas; no you don’t need to know the formula to create one as the editor you use does it for you. The vector file uses individual color blocks to create the final image; thus vector files are great for graphics (icons, illustrations etc) that need resizing for various reasons.
An example is a logo. You’re logo if made as a vector file can easily be resized to your website, social media profiles, and printed business cards or letterhead documents. In most cases, your logo will be saved as a png or jpg in the appropriate size needed from the vector file.
You may not know it but all those PDFs you use generally are vector files. Although depending on the program that created the PDF it might be a vector or a raster file. (I’ll skip discussing the merits of raster files here).
Anyway, the point is there are many free vector images, icons and illustrations that can be converted for use. There are at least 4 options to convert free vectors into useable JPG and PNG files besides using the well known Adobe suite of products.
However, there are differences between these vector editors; for example, Inkscape works natively with SVG vectors while GIMP easily handles AI and PSD files. Both understand the universal EPS vector file format.
So first find the free vector you like regardless of the format, then use one of these editors to resave the vector, i.e, convert it, into a JPG or PNG. After that upload it into Canva or any other editor.
Vector Converter Options
The first 2 options are totally free; Pixelmator is a for-pay option that I love on my mac. Pixlr Pro is a low-cost online option at about $5/month.
Option 1. INKSCAPE
If the file is an SVG then Inkscape the way to go. Inkscape default file format is SVG although it can import and export to other vector and non-vector file formats. In fact, many of the free vector graphics I edit for my website and social media content are modified using Inkscape. The software is free and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
Want to see how? Check out this article >>>> Convert Vector Files With Inkscape
Option 2. GIMP
While GIMP isn’t the easiest program to learn it is one of the most popular free vector and image editors available. GIMP doesn’t work well with SVG files but handily manages Adobe’s AI files, PSD and generic EPS file formats. Removing backgrounds, re-coloring images, icons or portions is fairly straightforward in GIMP.
Want to see how? Check out this article >>>> Convert Vector Files With Gimp
Option 3. Pixelmator
This for-pay program works only on Mac but its feature set is powerful and rivals many of Adobe’s features at a fraction of the price. There is no subscription fee only a one time paid version with updates. Pixelmator does open Adobe files and generic EPS files but its default is to save to the Pixelmator PXM format. Pixelmator also has capabilities that Adobe has and the GIMP doesn’t yet have.
Option 4. Pixlr Pro
There are several versions of Pixlr. The 2 online versions ( original Pilxr Editor & the newer version Pilxr X) don’t understand vector files. However, the downloadable version called Pixlr Pro can handle all kinds of vector files. Pixlr Pro is about $5/month, less than half the cost of Canva.
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