I Know I should use SVGs, But I Don’t Know How

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At 9:15am on 4/28/2018, I attended I Know I should use SVGs, But I Don’t Know How, Presented by Colin Lord of Pressable, at the 2018 Raleigh Wordcamp Convention in the Engineering Building II of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

I Know I should use SVGs, But I Don’t Know How

Using SVG images are a lot like going to the gym. We all know we *should* be using them when we write our front end code, but we end up putting it off for another project down the road. And when SVGs are used, they are often implemented in a way that doesn’t unlock their full potential.

During this presentation, I hope we’ll discuss the best practices for SVG implementation and how they vary depending on the size and audience of your site. Perhaps we will also go through what an SVG sprite is, how to create one, and why they’re awesome. According to Advanced Web, only 3% of sites on the internet use this technique…but 97% of browsers support it!

After this talk, I hope to be ready to work on SVGs effectively.

Everything we’re talking about will work on wordpress 4 & 5

The slides will be available. The Coke bottle is an SVG, and it means there are notes in the slides

These Image types have been available over the last 10 years.


SVG Compliment the other image types. You won’t stop using the others. there are 3 types we use, but there’s room for a 4th.

SVG files are smaller than jpg, png, gif

The logo for this company is either 0.5kb or 12kb depending on file type. That’s a dramatic savings on file type. Also,they are HDPI ready. They don’t have to be saved as a 2x, 3x, and you are future saving as well.

At a larger size, there is no difference in quality, but this is not true with bitmap graphics. Vector graphics do not increase in file size and no loss in quality. This is opposite with raster graphics.


What’s the browser support like?

the only red column is IE8. Unless you are worried about old IE versions, it works across the board, and works with CSS grid. They are easy and efficient to animate, giving more framerate and can manipulate it with CSS and javaScript. One SVG with javascript inside. Rather than exporting 365 graphics, a single SVG can be used for a whole calendar.

Chris Coyier Practical SVG is a fine book. This book is about creation, export, advocation on SVG at the 4th graphic type.


How do we use them correctly and efficiently?

there are ways to use this correctly and incorrectly. Photoshop can export anything as an SVG. Bitmaps (raster) is not a good SVG image. Once exported how can you use them:

You can treat it like any other image, and it will be treated the same way. Its pretty simple to put them into a webpage. The logo has size advantage and will be used well on any

Image is not loaded into the DOM. It just sees the size as a square. SVG at its core is just code, so you can load it into the dom

This gibberish all came out of illustrator. SVG vectors are really just a lot of math. How do we get on this? This is horribly against several brand guidelines. You can use any CSS, color change, states, etc. You can open the SVG in any text editor, and then post this item into the HTML

It is clear why to use that: there is so much to take advantage of.

rather than consider how much it is to deal with those items, this would be ridonkulous. To fix that, we use the SVG Sprite.

These are less important and people have pushed them out of style. It was tedious and not fun. You create and image window and long background image. It slides around as needed.

Here’s a basic example:

children inside the SVG sprite are symbols, and we give a name or ID inside for each. we use the name SVG- at the front so that we are not confused with it as a CSS Class. The viewbox here is the spacing. The title tag may or may not come with titles out of illustrator. The main takeaway is that the title may be something you wish to add yourself.

An SVG sprite is something we’re not displaying, but we’re putting symbols in in the code.

CLient logo, search and star are being used here. top images are at bottom of <header.php> file. Stars are only on the profile pages.

Social media icons can use a single sprite. You only need to link to it a single time.

this is all relegated to a file (erb?) which can be somewhere on the page

There are more ways, but these are 4 easy ones which we can use. There are more which can be used and they don’t always work well, such as SVG Injector

WIth this, we load the library. Anywhere we use Inject-Me class, the Image.svg is removed and the new items are added in the place at a browser and server level. The problem, it loads the image twice. First it loads the page, loads the javascript, loads the images again. That means we see the images show up, remove, show up again.

If the client saw it, that’s bad. Also not a good performance trick. Of the 4 examples we’ve discussed, there hasn’t been a time when the materials didn’t work properly.

Use FontAwesome. Load it into your site. Use them in your site. The iconset is fantastic.

Look at the material here. The HTML method (97% of use) has the most red X in them. Before you go down that road, its how many people use it, but its very, very limited.


The takeaway here: There’s a place for a 4th file type here.

Slides at



The Logitech Spotlight (works with bluetooth and also dongle) was used in this presentation, and it was fantastic!

Exporting from illustrator?

Use the web-optimized version so that you keep things clean and clear

Colin Lord

Colin Lord is a Senior Front End Developer for Modea in Blacksburg, Virginia. He has spent the last three years working in the healthcare industry for the Vanderbilt University Medical System, the Duke University Health System, and Carilion Clinic. Before that, he spent time in the music industry building sites for artists like Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Imagine Dragons, and The Band Perry. Other clients that have crossed his path are Verizon Wireless, ADT Home Security and DirecTV.

Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator CC (2015) ACA Certification Achieved!

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Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator CC (2015) ACA Certification Achieved!

Adobe and Certiport would again like to congratulate you on becoming an Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)! You are a part of an elite community of individuals with proven expertise in digital communications. Adobe certification is an industry standard of excellence, and it’s the absolute best way to communicate your proficiency in leading products from Adobe.

Adobe Illustrator software is the industry’s premier vector-drawing environment for creating scalable graphics. Digital media gurus bring their unique vision to life with shapes, color, effects, and typography by using a host of powerful functions to make fast work of their most complex designs.

Adobe conducted research to identify the foundational skills students need to effectively communicate using digital media tools. Based on feedback from educators, design professionals, businesses, and educational institutions around the world, the objectives cover entry-level skill expectations for graphic design and illustration.

Individuals who have earned an Adobe Certified Associate certification in Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator have demonstrated mastery of the following skills:

Domain 1.0 Setting Project Requirements

1.1 Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for preparing graphics and illustrations.
1.2 Summarize how designers make decisions about the type of content to include in a project, including considerations such as copyright, project fit, permissions, and licensing.
1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of project management tasks and responsibilities.
1.4 Communicate with others (such as peers and clients) about design plans.

Domain 2.0 Understanding Digital Graphics and Illustrations

2.1 Understand key terminology related to digital graphics and illustrations.
2.2 Demonstrate knowledge of basic design principles and best practices employed in the digital graphics and illustration industry.
2.3 Demonstrate knowledge of typography and its use in digital graphics and illustrations.
2.4 Demonstrate knowledge of color and its use in digital graphics and illustration.
2.5 Demonstrate knowledge of image resolution, image size, and image file format for web, video, and print.

Domain 3.0 Understanding Adobe Illustrator

3.1 Identify elements of the Illustrator user interface and demonstrate knowledge of their functions.
3.2 Define the functions of commonly used tools, including selection tools, the Pen tool, and other drawing tools, shape tools, and transformation tools.
3.3 Navigate, organize, and customize the workspace.
3.4 Use non-printing design tools in the interface, such as rulers, guides, bleeds, and artboards.
3.5 Demonstrate knowledge of layers and masks.
3.6 Manage colors, swatches, and gradients.
3.7 Manage brushes, symbols, graphic styles, and patterns.
3.8 Demonstrate knowledge of how and why illustrators employ different views and modes throughout the course of a project, including vector/outline vs. display/appearance, isolation mode, and various Draw modes.
3.9 Demonstrate an understanding of vector drawing tools.

Domain 4.0 Creating Digital Graphics and Illustrations Using Adobe Illustrator

4.1 Create a new project.
4.2 Use vector drawing and shape tools.
4.3 Transform graphics and illustrations.
4.4 Create and manage layers.
4.5 Import assets into a project.
4.6 Add and manipulate type using Type tools.
4.7 Create digital graphics and illustrations using 3D and perspective tools in Illustrator.

Domain 5.0 Archive, Export, and Publish Graphics Using Adobe Illustrator

5.1 Prepare images for web, print, and video.
5.1 Export digital graphics and illustration to various file formats.

Past versions of the Adobe Certified Associate in Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator are now outdated. However, certifications on older versions of our software are still valid.

GDA Lecture: Adobe Illustrator How-To

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On February 18th, Tyler Dockery spoke to the GDA about Adobe Illustrator and gave one-on-one help to students new to Illustrator.


GDA Lecture: Adobe Illustrator How-To

While I would love to tell you that this was a standing-room only lecture, the odd timing with the school day made this a handful of people only. As this was posted as a beginner tutorial, students with illustrator experience did not show, and since we were running a class of illustrator at the time, it made for a small but charged group.

Together, we gauged the room too find that everyone was already familiar with the pen tool from the photoshop classes that we teach. So, with a few subtle nuances of the pen tool to teach at a rapid pace, we began discussing shapes and the pathfinder tools. Students in such a small environment were able to quickly and easily find the pros of using these two tools together.

Moving onto text and creating outlines, we undertook a simple exercise of creating a d in futura and adding a leaf onto it with the pen tool by combing text outlines and shapes with the pathfinder tool. We then filled this with a green-to-brown gradient and used the paste-inside command to add grey rock images below the brown to create an environmental letter.

Although students were already familiar with illustrator as a thing, many stated they were very excited about going home and trying it out on their own projects.

We then talked about live trace (live paint) for a few minutes, and talked about the distinct differences with bitmap and vector imagery. Students left excited and full of ideas.

GDA Lecture: Adobe Illustrator, a hands-on workshop

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On November 18th in the Engineering and Technology Building (ETB) at Wake Tech, Tyler Dockery spoke to the GDA about Adobe Illustrator.

Dockery Vector Demonstration

GDA Lecture: Adobe Illustrator, a hands-on workshop

The GDA opened their meetings with a quiet thank you to Marsha Mills and Tyler Dockery before holding an impromptu discussion on the best days and times for meetings. Shortly thereafter, the demonstration was begun.

Beginning with the basic tools of shapes, then text, and finally the pen tool, we got quickly acquainted with the basics of illustrator. We had a ten minute hands-on demonstration of the pen tool and the subtle nuances of P and S curves. Then we moved into the use of creating outlines with the text tool and also using the pathfinder element with shapes, outlines, and type on a path.

From there, participants pulled down internet pictures of ballet dancers, kung fu martial artists, and children at play. For each image, participants used the pen tool to outline their images. Each person received personal attention, and later discussions were opened for individual question and answer periods.

BFA Design from UNC-G!

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At 6pm On December 18th, 1998 I attended the 1998 Winter Commencement Ceremonies presented by The University of North Carolina at Greensboro at the Greensboro Convention Center in Greensboro, NC.

Received my BFA in Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro!

Tyler Dockery attended UNC-G, receiving his BFA in Design in 1998
Tyler Dockery attended UNC-G, receiving his BFA in Design in 1998

Today I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Design with a specialization in Graphic Design and Mutlimedia. Hooray!

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is the highest undergraduate degree that you can receive in the arts, with the Bachelor of Arts as a lesser degree requiring no foreign language or upper-tier courses. In short:

How Fine Arts Degrees Stack Up

Here is the breakdown of visual arts to liberal arts credits that you will encounter in a BFA or BA program:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts: A BFA requires that approximately two thirds of the course work focus on the creation and study of visual arts, and one third of the course work focus on liberal arts (history, literature, psychology, etc.).
  • Bachelor of Arts: For a BA, the course work ratios are flipped, with a two thirds focus on liberal arts and one third focus on visual arts.

These ratios hold true across all establishments of higher learning. The type of degree, not the institution, determines the amount of visual arts to liberal arts you will study.

Tyler Dockery Attended UNC-G (new logo shown) receiving a BFA in Design in 1998
Tyler Dockery Attended UNC-G (new logo shown) receiving a BFA in Design in 1998

I chose to take the BFA degree track in design because I want to teach graphic design at the collegiate or university level. To do this, I would have to really get into the field and get to know all facets of design. The BFA program at UNC-G  ( will open in another window) has a focus on both the traditional design methodologies such as drawing, sculpture, color theory, painting, etc., coupled with an emphasis on software and multimedia design. This dual-emphasis on the old and the new will really give me a boost in the workplace (hoping).


Software I learned in school

  • Adobe Photoshop 3.0
  • Adobe Illustrator 2.0
  • Adobe Premiere
  • Adobe Pagemaker
  • Quark XPress
  • Hypercard
  • Supercard
  • Aldus Freehand 5.0
  • Macromedia Flash 2.0
  • Macromedia Director
  • Some HTML

Where did you go to school, and what did you learn? Let me know in the comments area!