From setting up your artboard, to indexing your art to help it stand out, you will learn the basics of creating vector art for Adobe Stock in this tutorial.
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It’s easy to upload vector images to the Adobe Stock Contributor program. But, before you start developing your ideas, learn what distinguishes a vector image that we can accept into our collection. It comes down to a few factors: evocative subject matter, organized files, and some qualities unique to vector art.

Choose the right subject and style

Before you start developing a vector image, ask yourself whether the illustration you plan to make can be used commercially. Think of yourself as a customer and ask, "why would I buy this vector image for my
project?"

Investigate current trends: consider food and health trends such as gluten free products, environmental topics such as solar energy, or even legislative discussions such health insurance coverage. Think ahead when you read or watch the news and spot trends early to have content online when the discussion heats up. See below (1A) for a sample image of an ice cream truck, a favorite symbol of summer.

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Trend example

Quick tips:

  • To see what images are selling well: Go to Stock.Adobe.com and do an image search. Filter the search to show vectors (1B) and sort it by downloads (1C).
  • Research seasons and holidays for inspiration on popular subjects. This dragon image (1D) provides a fun example for the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated by many Asian cultures.
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Get inspired by popular images and holidays

Once you have chosen a compelling subject, think about the look and feel. Get inspired by this year’s visual trends—that way your art will be current and fresh. We know that some trends will always make a comeback, but some are best forgotten (for instance, think back to the year 2000 when 3D characters and glossy buttons were in vogue).

Set up your artboard

Your artboard (2) must be at least 15 megapixels (MP) to submit to Adobe Stock. You may be asking yourself, "how do I know how many megapixels my artboard has?"
Easy! Choose an artboard size and multiply the width (in pixels) by the height (in pixels).
For example: 5000 px x 3000 px = 15,000,000 (15 MP).

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15 MP artboard

Note:

New improvements in our upload workflow have removed the need to submit a JPEG preview when uploading your files. You are welcome to continue to provide a zipped file with JPEG and AI or EPS files if you already prepared files this way.

Organize your file

Make your customers happy by creating a clean, well-organized file. Make sure that: 

  • all your layers are organized: labeled, unlocked, and free of hidden objects; (3A)
  • all filled shape paths are closed; (3B)
  • all patterns fills are expanded (some previous versions of Adobe Illustrator don’t allow a user to edit them if they are not expanded); (3C)
  • you use text only where necessary, because it may cause font compatibility issues for the buyer. Consider creating outlines for text that is unlikely to be modified by the buyer;
  • you do not embed pixel based images (JPEGs) into your vector files—because they are not vectors.
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Label, unlock, and unhide layers
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Close shape paths and expand patterns

Saving your file:

  • To ensure that your file can be opened by all customers try to save it in an older version of Adobe Illustrator. You can go back to Illustrator CS without creating any problems: save the file as AI or EPS.
  • Make sure your file is no larger than 45 megabytes (MB).

Limit your use of the auto-trace function

We recommend you use auto trace only in special cases like tracing watercolors and single color illustrations like pen and ink. Consider the fact that buyers may wish to customize your files, changing colors and other elements. Auto tracing can make this difficult because tracings are made up of thousands of paths and anchor points. Auto trace should not be used on complex images like photographs. Consider what would happen if the buyer wanted to change the color of the shirt of the man in this tracing (4).

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Use auto trace sparingly

Create original content

The more content you submit, the more successful you will be, however, don’t try to create quantity by submitting the same vector art with different colors, backgrounds, textures or other minor variations. The great thing about vector illustrations is that buyers have the power to customize elements themselves, so focus your energy on creating original content. Observe the differences between the image of medical equipment below (5A) and how the variation (5B) isn’t just a change in color or cropping, the case is also shown at a different angle. These two images offer a substantial choice to the buyer.

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Make sure your files are substantially different from each other

Be aware of intellectual property laws, trademarks, and releases

All content you submit to Adobe Stock must be created and controlled by you.

Make sure that your vector art is free of commercial logos, trademarks or protected images.

We require a Model Release for any vector artworks that are based on real people or body parts such as a drawing of a person’s likeness (6).

Likewise, if your vector art depicts recognizable places, buildings, or other protected property—such as a painting—you may be required to fill out a property release form and have it signed by the owner of the
property. 

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This image needs a model release

See our Legal Guidelines for details.

Make sure buyers can find your content

You worked hard to create your vector art. Now, use the right keywords to help people find it. When you upload your content, our auto keyword tool will generate some useful words for you to use. Check the list for accuracy and delete or replace keywords as you see fit. It is essential that you list the 7 most important keywords at the top of the list. Use our sort tool to send words to the top or drag and drop to move them around. For more on keywords see Make your content easy to find with the right keywords.

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Use descriptive keywords

That’s it. We hope you find these guidelines helpful and inspiring. We look forward to seeing your vector
art at Adobe Stock.

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