Current and Emerging Vector Trends for 2021

 In Industry Trends

1322301439, DrAfter123

You use pictures. You’ve got a logo. You even painted your bathroom in your brand colors. But are you using vectors to help promote your brand? Scratching your head? Don’t worry, we got you.

Technically, vector graphics, or “vectors”, are graphics made of points, lines, curves, and shapes that are based on mathematical formulas. They differ from digital photography and other “raster graphics” that are made up of thousands of pixels because no matter how big or small you scale a vector, it always retains its crisp, clear resolution. Logos are often created as vectors because this “resolution independence” (the ability to scale them up or down without losing any quality or clarity) makes them ideal for all kinds of corporate needs, from business cards to billboards. Vectors also play an important role in mobile app and web design as icons or visual cues that guide navigation, denote importance, or just simply draw the user’s eye to an important on-screen element.

But don’t get confused, vectors are more than just simple shapes or line art. Some of the most detailed product photography you see isn’t photography at all, but rather expertly crafted vectors that make use of gradients, shadows, and other artistic tools to create an image that’s more perfect than any photo retoucher can dream of.

Vectors are an important part of your visual toolkit, so how are vectors being used in 2021? Let’s take a look at some trends to keep your vectors and your brand looking fresh.

Stay Simple and Smart

Business infographic with three tabs coming off a circle with placeholder language

1221233830, Fireofheart

Vectors are often used in data visualization content like infographics to help make complex information more visually appealing and easier to understand. Simple, flat vector graphics allow you to communicate meaning quicker and with less space than words. They uncomplicate details and allow readers to unpack key information that may otherwise get lost in layers of findings and figures. In a time of information overload, all sorts of communicators—including brands—are looking to simplify information to help establish authority and trust.

Take an Optimistic Approach

Illustration of a huge man who acts as bridge for a girl crossing a canyon with a waterfall

1320767941, julymilks

3D renders, optical illusions, vectors allow you to introduce fun, fantastic visual elements that can transport your brand far away from dreary reality to a place that’s more colorful, more optimistic, and more attractive to consumers who may feel overwhelmed by the reality of everyday. Whether it’s an imaginative character, a childlike drawing, or an intricate psychedelic pattern, vectors can be used to impart a sense of escapist whimsy that’s increasingly attractive in this almost-post-pandemic era. A thoughtful, well-placed vector can quickly become a branded element that is uniquely yours and gives your brand a much-needed sense of individualism.

Want to Be Inclusive? Vectors Make It Easy.

Illustration of a group of people working together on a video conference.

1315424346, jattumongkhon

It’s more than a trend, it’s a necessity. Brands are actively seeking authentic representations of diversity, and as marketers, it’s to our benefit to promote this in everything we do. It’s good for our communities, our conscience, and our bottom line.

Unlike photos, vectors allow you to easily create strong visuals that can be easily customized with different colors, shapes, and sizes—appealing to and including any possible combination of people or identities. Representing the endless possible intersections of cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds helps your content to appeal to wider audiences, demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, and may even position your brand ahead of the curve on timely social issues.

Get It All Done on iStock

Illustration of a couple staying at home

1224987841, miakievy

If you’re an iStock subscriber you already have access to the world’s largest library of high-quality, royalty-free stock photography, but you also have access to an incredible selection of vector graphics perfect for charts, graphs, infographics, landing pages, UX and CX projects, presentations—any possible digital or print creative. Our incredible selection of vector graphics are easy to personalize for your brand and let you have the benefit of off-the-shelf with the look of custom made.

Strong brands need a strong visual presence. Tap into the power of vector graphics with your iStock subscription to add this versatile design element to your design brand’s visual identity. 

This article is meant as a reference only and does not constitute legal advice. To learn about all of iStock’s licensing rules and restrictions, please visit our licensing resource page.

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