Drop everything and download: Vectr

Get your graphics game on, without spending a penny

08 March 2017
by Stuff Staff

Time was, creating something pretty was as easy as cracking out the brushes, mixing up some paint and setting to work.

Not any more. What with screens of all shapes and sizes cropping up all over the shop, the 21st century calls for digital designs that can cope with all kinds of situations.

Haven’t a clue how to turn your inspiration into astounding on-screen illustrations? Worry not, because there’s an easy answer – and its name is Vectr.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Ever seen anything pretty on the Internet? You know, like stylish icons, digital art or cool shapes and stuff? Chances are that vectors are involved somewhere.

At their most basic, vector graphics use points, paths and polygons – rather than pixels – to render images. This means you can resize them without losing any quality – and Vectr is a free and easy way to make your own.

Think of it as a toned-down version of Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator programs, with a focus on creating delightful graphics for the web. You can craft paths, draw shapes, play with layers and styles and, well, do just about anything your creative brain can muster.

Besides its sheer simplicity (Vectr walks you through step-by-step tutorials as soon as you fire it up), it’s also built for sharing and collaboration. Share a link to your work, for example, and you can work with someone on the same design in real time. There’s even an online editor in case you’re away from your own machine.

While there’s still a gulf between grasping Vectr’s tools and actually using them to create digital masterpieces, if you’re a blogger, vlogger, webber or jobber, it’s a brilliant way to wade into the world of vectors.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

Only its simplicity, really. Those used to more advanced software might find Vectr a little stylised, and the feature set is obviously more limited than the hefty sort of software you can pay many pennies for.

That simplicity does mean it’s relatively lightweight, though, with the download weighing in at just shy of 40MB – which shouldn’t trouble anyone’s broadband.

You will be repeatedly prompted to sign up or log in but, provided you’re happy to do so, this does mean you’ll be able to skip out of the tutorials and fully save and sync your creations with your online account.

In fact, perhaps the biggest downside is Vectr’s commitment to the cloud: it’s designed as a connected vector solution and, while it will work offline, it only really makes sense when you’re plugged in to the big WWW.

WHERE CAN I GET IT?

On the internet! More specifically, by clicking this little link here. Vectr launched on the Mac App Store on February 21 – though you can also download it for Windows, Chromebook and Linux.

And, like many of the best things, it’s totally free.

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