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Clip art is a form of electronic graphic art that consists of simple illustrations as opposed to photographic images.
Clip art is generally available in a large number of file formats, which are either bitmaps or vector graphics.
The advent of personal computers and desktop publishing applications produced all manner of printed communications, creating a huge demand for images to accompany the written word. Publishers soon began to incorporate huge volumes of such images, labeled clip art in reference to the paste-up process in old-style publishing where images were physically cut and layed out to form a finished page.
Clip art primarily includes simple line-drawn or sketched images limited in color range. Sophisticated clip art is now available - although usually at a price - and is easily dragged, dropped and moved around as the designer wishes.
Clip art is usually black and white, especially for sketched material, and often contains only 16 colors or less. Modern clip art may be high resolution and often uses the full color spectrum.
Vector clip art usually provides smoother resizing than bitmap clip art, which may appear jagged when resized. Clip art is available in more than 250 file formats and provides varying degrees of resolution and scalability.