Do you know the difference between graphic file formats?
PNG, JPEG, GIF or SVG — do you use them randomly or do you know what each one is for?
Some will say that selecting an appropriate format is a small and insignificant issue. But is it really so? Using the right JPEG, PNG, GIF, and SVG files can have a positive impact on your website. That’s why it’s worth trying to understand the differences between them. Some files are smaller and load quickly, while others have better quality and improve the user experience. Read about graphic file formats and improve your website.
Why does the format for pictures and images matter
Of course. Even though most graphic files will look good online, you should understand the pros and cons of each format. Images are not just elements that attract users’ attention.
They influence the following aspects:
Depending on the format, a file can take up more or less space on a website, directly affecting loading time. Surely you know that loading time improves or, on the contrary, has a negative impact on the position in the search results.
This is the most obvious of all effects. The format you choose can affect how your images look. Thus, the file should have a proper format to get the best effect.
When you enlarge an image too much, it loses quality. How much you can resize an image depends on the format used. A properly formatted file influences how the site looks on different screen sizes.
What are the differences between picture and image formats?
Some of the formats are described below. Surely you know them and use them daily. But not all formats are popular. We have selected for description 4 of the most popular formats, which are also the most suitable – for reasons of compatibility.
JPEG format. What does it mean?
JPEG (eng. Joint Photographic Experts Group) – was created in 1986 and represents a raster image format. Files of this type can serve millions of colors, so it’s ideal for photos. If it is for example a social media channel with many images, then JPEG is the best choice. Most cameras and smartphones save each image in JPEG format.
In this format, however, it is not possible to create images with a transparent background – which is why images cannot be used to be layered, or arranged with other images.
Likewise, we must mention that this format is a lossy one when we compress the files. Because of this compressed JPEG files lose a lot of quality.
The loss of quality is caused by the creation of a so-called bitmap – bitmap – for images. Each pixel has its position well established by a mathematical method. Because of this, when enlarging the image, its quality decreases.
GIF – images with animations
It is becoming more and more popular on the internet. This extension is the perfect choice for images with a limited number of colors that should be small in size. Pictures and color images saved as GIFs force considerable compression, resulting in low quality. Especially since they can’t contain more than 256 colors.
A unique feature of the GIF format is animation. Animations are still popular, a subtle GIF animation can grab a user’s attention on a website.
SVG – vector format
It is not only the youngest graphic file format (created in 2001) but also the most efficient. Unlike JPEG, GIF, and PNG, the quality of an SVG image remains the same regardless of the image size, because it is saved as a sequence of geometric shapes and curves, not as pixels. An SVG file can be animated, have transparent layers, and contain an unlimited number of colors. Unfortunately, the price paid for these properties is a large size, larger even than PNG files. Where could you use this format? In images with many small details, such as maps or graphs.
Anyway, today you have the option to export a certain format to another. It’s really simple, for example, you can turn an SVG into a GIF just by changing the export option. So, if you want to try other formats, you just have to search on google and you will find easy ways to do that.
PNG – what is it?
Used almost as often as JPEG, PNG has some rarely used advantages. This format not only supports millions of colors, but also allows users to save images in which certain parts are transparent, which is a considerable advantage when working with layers – layers in photoshop or another graphics program.
The biggest disadvantage of files in PNG format is their size – due to a large amount of colors, they have a larger size compared to other images saved with other extensions.
Interestingly, PNG does not lose quality when resized, unlike other formats such as JPEG. Why? Because the image saved as PNG is a sequence of geometric figures in a coordinate system.
Which format should you choose?
It all depends on your needs. Each one has different features, find the best one that matches what you want.