Let's talk about image formats
JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, TIFF, so many abbreviations that often confuse people who don’t have the necessary know-how. We tend to mistake one for another and when we do this, we don’t use them at their highest potential, or even worse, we make it hard for a website to work properly. We’re here to bring some clarity on these very specific terms. Where do you use them, what they actually mean and how can you get the best out of every format? Stay tuned and continue to read to find out!
JPG " the photographer "
JPG or Joint Photographic Experts Group is an image format specially dedicated to digital photography. Often used for compressed images, it is considered the most common image format in the whole wide world. It can be used for photography, paintings, scenes with a clean variation of colors and effects. Its most important advantage is that it keeps the colors vivid, though its dimensions are bigger.
Where can you use JPG? Mostly, everywhere. Though JPG it’s not the best-practice when it comes to websites, it can still be used if there is no other option at the moment.
PNG " the web citizen "
PNG or Portable Network Graphics is website’s best friend. It represents a loss-less image compression format, perfectly created for preserving original images, while still maintaining complete visual details. The motivation behind creating a new image format, PNG, comes after people working with GIFs saw that the gifs were limited to a number of 256 colors. They created PNG which was set up to caption and show the closest details in a picture, even on websites, but it has a downside: it tends to darken the pictures a bit.
GIF " the first animation "
GIF or Graphics Interchange Format was a very appreciated addition in web development and design in 1987. It came with a new and unique feature – the animation. With GIF you can interchange two or more graphics, that’s the good side. The not-so-good side, though, is that it is limited to 256 colors and its quality can be lower than PNG or JPG/JPEG.
TIFF " the printers’ helper "
TIFF or Tagged Image File Format is a specially designed image format that is very popular among graphic designers and photographers because of the utility it has in printing, desktop publishing, 3D applications and medical imaging. TIFF was created in order to become a product that can be sold to desktop scanner vendors in 1980. Today it is considered a flexible and adaptable format for handling multiple data in a single file.
WebP " the newcomer "
WebP has them both: it is an image format that is lossy but also lossless in its compression, working with static images and with animations. Its primary advantage is that it is designed to keep the quality to 100%, especially for web designs that need smaller images in order to function at a proper speed.
Consider this article your little help when you can’t remember which one’s which and come back to it whenever you need.
Till next time,