I love Adobe Illustrator. As well as being one of the primary tools for my commercial work as a graphic designer, I still play around with it for my own amusement. I know, I should get out more. This is the first of a series of illustrations of classic mid-century design objects entirely created using vector software.
For those of you unfamiliar with this, vector images are made up of many individual, scalable objects. These objects are defined by mathematical equations rather than pixels, so they always render at the highest quality. Objects may consist of lines, curves, and shapes with editable attributes such as color, fill, and outline. Because they’re scalable, vector images are resolution independent. You can increase and decrease the size of vector images to any degree and the lines will remain crisp and sharp, both on screen and in print.
However, most people are more familiar with bitmap images – also known as raster images – which are made up of pixels in a grid. Each pixel records a tiny portion of colour so if you keep increasing the size of a bitmap image, you will soon see the pixels:
One of the other benefits of working with vectors is that files sizes are much lower. This is because they do not have to record information as individual pixels, but simply reference points, their relationship to each other and their attributes.
For those who are interested in what this means, if I was to save a copy of this file to TIFF format it would occupy 12.3MB of memory to store it. By contrast, the original vector file is just 3.8MB, even if it was enlarged to the size of a house. If you work digitally, this makes a big difference.
Here is a view of the vector lines that form the structure to the illustration:
For those who are interested in the chair, this is a moulded plastic armchair by Charles and Ray Eames, originally designed in 1950.
Note to self: get out more.