What is a “Vector Pack?”

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Ok, so it has come to my attention that some people who purchase stuff from Go Media’s Arsenal surprisingly have no idea what they’re buying. But they buy it anyway. Strange…

Vector Packs are NOT software

Some people call it software. Some people call them programs. Some even call them plugins or brushes. Well, truth is, they’re none of those! Some folks have called us asking how to install the design software or wondering why these magical things aren’t creating designs FOR them. Well, I’m here to explain this to all the n00bs. And don’t worry, we’ve all been a n00b before. I had no idea what vectors were until after 3 or 4 years of using Photoshop to do all my graphics. It was uncomfortable to learn vector software at first, but it was SO worth it once I wrapped my brain around the whole concept of vector graphics. So, if you would consider yourself a n00b, this article will whip you into shape. At least enough to feel confident that you can use some Vector Packs!

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So what the heck IS a Vector Pack

All products listed in the “Vector Pack” category on the Arsenal are just that, packs of vectors. It’s just a collection of various vector shapes that you can copy and paste into your artwork or design. We organize the vector packs into themes such as Heraldry, Splatters, and Hooladanders (our word for flourishes). When we release new vector packs, we like to bundle a bunch of those themed packs into a Set and offer them at a discount. So you’ll find that a “Set” of vector packs contains 7 different “themed” packs which sell individually for about $10. Or you can just buy the entire Set and get all 7 themed packs for about $35.

Now some people aren’t sure what a vector is. I suggest if you really want to understand what a vector is, read the Wikipedia entry on Vector Graphics.

Open Vector Packs with Adobe Illustrator

The Novice Graphic Designer most likely uses Photoshop to do all their designs for print and web. Which I would say the majority of non-designers probably think Photoshop is how all designs are made. Not true. Photoshop is excellent for photo based design and web design. But it is NOT the optimal software to use Vectors in. Adobe made a special program just for that! It’s called Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator is our software of choice. We feel that you should be using it if you are working with our Vector Packs. I will also recommend that you use version CS or above. They’re on CS3 right now and soon to have CS4 on the market.

A common complaint is from people who use old versions of software. Cranky VonClementine who uses Illustrator 8 (from way back in the 1990′s) calls us to complain that his vectors aren’t working the way he thought. However, Spanky McFadden who has the most up-to-date software calls us and gives us a pat on the back for making his life ten times easier.

So, make your life easier (and ours) by updating your version of Adobe Illustrator to the latest version.

There ARE other vector graphics applications that people are using. Corel Draw, Macromedia Freehand, Inkscape, Macromedia Fireworks. While these all have their use, we honestly don’t use them and can’t always offer our expertise and support on those programs. We try our best to make sure our Vector Packs work with ALL vector software, but I can’t stress enough that if you want a smooth ride with our products, you should use the same software we do.

Summary

Now, to sum up what you’ve read so far. You know that Go Media sells radical collections of “themed” vector artwork that are bundled together into Sets. They are to be used with Adobe Illustrator. Not Photoshop! Sure, you CAN use our vector packs in Photoshop to some extent, and pro users will understand how to work around the software’s limitations. But if you’re a total n00b at design and have been designing things in Microsoft Word, then you should avoid mixing vectors and Photoshop all together. Do yourself a favor and download the trial of Illustrator if you don’t have it already.

And just a reminder, the Vector Packs are NOT software. You don’t download the Vector Packs and install them. No copying them to your plugin or presets folder either. It’s simply just a file you OPEN with Adobe Illustrator. The whole pack is laid out in front of you like a buffet table and you just take your pick. Select one, copy it (Edit > Copy) and then go into your design and paste it (Edit > Paste). See the awesome image below:

Vector Packs are files that you open with Adobe Illustrator

Vector File Types – EPS, AI, etc.

Also, the files that are usually associated with vector are .eps, .ai, and in some cases .pdf. Go Media uses .eps files because we believe they are the most widely supported file for vector graphics.

But my file is a ZIP!!1

Now some people have called us with complaints saying that their software won’t open the file – after further investigation, the customer was trying to open the ZIP file with Adobe Illustrator. This is not going to get you anywhere. If you’re trying to open a ZIP file with your design software, you would be considered an ultra n00b and should consider taking some basic computer classes. But to help the ultra n00bs of this world, as there seem to be quite a few that purchase our products, let me brief you really quick on what a ZIP file is.

A ZIP file is kind of like a folder. Any file with a .zip extension means that a bunch of smaller files were “zipped up” into a neat little bundle. So when you buy a Complete Set from us, you’ll download ONE file. Something like gomedia-completeset10.zip. You will need to “unzip” this file in order to “extract” the 7 individual vector .eps files inside. Kind of like a birthday present! The purpose of a ZIP file is to provide customers with a smaller, more convenient way of getting multiple files. It’s faster!

Your operating system (Windows XP, Vista, Mac) should be able to “unzip” these files for you. If not, you’ll need a program like Winzip, 7-Zip, WinRAR, or Power Archiver. If you would like to further understand ZIP files, go ahead and read this article.

There you have it. A basic schooling on Vector Packs, and how they relate to Go Media. If you still need help with the vector packs, check this article below. It gets a bit more detailed on how to open them and start working with them!

Step By Step: Using the Vector Packs

Have fun!

About the Author, Jeff Finley

I'm a partner at Go Media, a Cleveland web design, branding, and design studio. I started Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and wrote the book Thread's Not Dead, teaching artists and designers how to start a clothing company. I'm also writing a new book called Wake Up: The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life

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