Finding quality vector art for your designs can be time-consuming. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 top vector libraries for you to find exactly what you need, every time. When it comes to graphic design, images can generally be split into two camps: raster and vector.
Raster images are those like photos, which consist of differently colored pixels. When these images are scaled, they lose their clarity and become pixelated.
Vector images are those like logos or other design elements that you want to indefinitely scale without losing any clarity. Instead of pixels, vector images consist of “paths” — each of these paths has its own “vector” (a mathematical formula) dictating how it should be displayed, no matter how large or small the image is.
When you’re creating a vector image in a program such as Adobe Illustrator (or one of its alternatives), instead of drawing each design element from scratch, you can save time by using high-quality elements that other designers have already created. To do this, browse some of these vector elements sites. You’ll be amazed at how much choice you have.
With well over half a million vector and raster images to download, StockUnlimited is the Spotify of stock images. You can either sign up for a free account and have access to the impressive free library, or you can pay $9 per month and have unlimited access to the entire catalog.
If you’re only interested in vector art, you can unlock lifetime access to everything available, with unlimited downloads, for just $59 (temporary offer). There are no complicated licenses to navigate and the credits do not expire.
The company manages to keep its prices so low because it creates all of these images itself, though it will hopefully be opening the platform up to other designers soon.
Claiming to be the “largest vector graphics community in the world,” Vecteezy has a huge library of free images that you can download and use in your projects (check the license first).
If you’re a designer yourself, you’re encouraged to share your creations on Vecteezy too, so all designers have a pool of professionally-designed elements they can dip into whenever they need.
By upgrading to a premium account ($14 per month), you’ll gain unlimited access to the royalty-free premium catalog.
To differentiate itself from all the other stock image sites out there, RetroVectors only offers free and premium (generally $2 per set) images that hark back to the good ol’ days, taking you from the Victorian era through to the 1980s.
They will be perfect for any vintage designs you’re working on.
Vector.me’s impressive library of over 250,000 free images is becoming a great place to search for extra design elements.
Each vector file on Vector.me can be downloaded and used free of charge. Make sure to review the license details first. If you search the premium section of the site, you will simply be referred to images from ShutterStock.
Shutterstock’s monthly subscriptions are by no means cheap, but the range of raster and vector images to choose from, and the quality of those images, makes this worth considering for any serious designer.
Currently, Shutterstock’s total library contains almost 100 million raster and vector images, with 750,000 new images being added each week. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, it probably doesn’t exist.
Another hefty vector library is VectorPortal. All images are available free of charge, and can be used for commercial purposes. No attribution is needed, but it is always appreciated.
This is a great site if you’re just looking for something relatively simple. The designs here are good quality, but if you want something truly exceptional, you might want to browse elsewhere.
The vector packs from Designious are all hand-drawn, incredibly high quality, and extremely affordable. The library isn’t huge, but if you’re looking for something more artistic, this is the place to come.
Most packs are around $15 each and consist of a range of themed vector files that you can use in your projects.
Like Shutterstock, GraphicRiver only offers the highest quality graphics, but their library is much smaller at 250,000 images. Fortunately, you don’t need to subscribe to a monthly plan to use them.
When purchasing an image, you’ll usually be given two options. The lower price (often $5–15) will be for creating end products that are not charged for. If the end product is charged for, you’ll need to purchase the more expensive “Extended License” ($50–-150).
The “world’s premier vector-only image marketplace” has a library of 40,000 free vectors, and millions of premium vectors priced as low as $1, with thousands more being added each day.
I was surprised at the quality of these vectors, considering their extremely low price. When you sign up for an account, you have the option to purchase credits. Each credit is worth $1, you can then exchange credits for standard or extended licenses on any image you like.
Freepik is a huge community of graphic designers offering exclusive, hand-selected designs. Many of these designs can be used free of charge, provided you include an attribution. If you want to use these images without attribution (and access a larger catalog), you’ll need to sign up to an unlimited premium account for $10 per month.
Take a quick look around this site, and you’ll see Freepik is only using images from extremely talented designers, which can really give the edge to your designs.
Creating Awesome Vector Designs
Whether you’re looking for free or paid vector graphics will partially dictate the quality of elements you’ll have access to. Between these 10 sites though, you’re almost guaranteed to find what you’re looking for.
These cover everything from very basic clip-art style graphics, to intricate, artistic elements. Mix these with a few quality online design courses and your designs will be popping in no time, whether you’re working on a personal project or creating a design for a client.