Choosing the right image format is important. This will affect your website’s performance as using the wrong sets of media files can hinder its loading speed. As a result, your user experience will not go well.
The question, however, is out of all the image file formats, which should be used? There are more than 10 types, but we will focus on the three most commonly used, JPG, PNG, and GIF.
JPG vs PNG vs GIF: what is the best kind of file type for images?
In this article, we will discuss the three formats, their differences, and how to use them. After reading, you’re expected to have a plan for the images on your site.
What is JPG?
Joint Photographic Experts Group, or more commonly known as JPG or JPEG, is the most common among the image formats, the go-to, even. The process of creating this format started in 1986, but it only became official in 1992.
JPG is used mostly for images that are visual-based. This means that this would suit those with colorful designs because of its compression levels. This will, however, won’t fit those with textual elements and sharp edges. Doing so can display overly pixelated images.
Here are the other benefits of JPG:
- Small in Size
Because this format automatically compresses images, you can expect that you can insert more images on your website. JPG images consume less data space compared to their counterparts.
- Causes Faster Website Loading Speed
This format will not greatly affect your website’s loading speed because, again, it uses less bandwidth. As long as it is in a reasonable quantity, you can expect to not experience lag and response issues.
- Displays Great Details
Although it has high compression levels, this is the best option for showing off detailed images. JPG is compatible with millions of colors, so it can display multi-color images with ease.
Another quality that is known about the file format is its ability to lose some content. It removes unnecessary data from the media files to make it easier to compress.
Some examples of JPG images are images that can be seen in search engines and social media sites.
What is PNG?
The second file format at hand is PNG. This is short for Portable Network Graphics and is actually recognized as JPEG, although not as used. This was developed in 1996 to promote image transparency.
Unlike JPG, this is specifically made for those pictures without too many visual elements;. However, it has the same amount of support for colors as the former format; it displays those with few to none better.
What makes this different is that it has a larger file size.
Here are the advantages of PNG:
- Displays Sharp Edges
I stated previously that although JPG is great with details, it can’t really show sharp edges and fine lines. PNG, on the other hand, is the opposite. Even when you zoom it on a maximum level, you can still view each detail.
- Retains Quality
PNG is a lossless format. No data, necessary or not, will be taken away. This retains the current quality of the image as it is and why it can show better details. PNG images are not subject to being pixelated, so you can rest assured that it can easily be viewed no matter the dimensions.
- Supports Transparency
Finally, the main highlight of this format is its capability to adhere to transparency. You can display your images alone, without having opaque and solid color backgrounds hindering the way.
Examples of PNG images are screenshots, logos, and clip art.
What is GIF?
The third and last format that we will discuss is Graphics Interchange Format or GIF. Contrary to the first two that are focused on still images, GIF displays animated images. These can be short clips from movies, music videos, or just stop motion videos.
GIF formats show repetitive short clips that usually depict a certain topic. You can also use this for still images, but it isn’t really recommended because of quality issues. Furthermore, only 256 colors are supported by this, so it is best to stick with animations.
For the pros of GIF, refer to the list below:
- Supports Animation
With GIF’s ability to display animations, you don’t have to think about the hassle of equipping yourself with various plugins and extensions to achieve the type of media you want to showcase.
- Optimizes Site Creativity
GIFs are also a good way to spice up boring sites without going through the risk of coming off as unprofessional to your readers. Surely, animation loops are more entertaining to look at compared to still media. As long as you stick to images or animations that are not too colorful, it can also be pleasing to your audience’s eyes.
- Better for Delivering Messages
This format is a good way to depict how your content really feels. This can show more emotions because you can reference existing clips and integrate them to optimize your readers’ visualization.
A popular platform that offers a wide variety of animated GIFs is Giphy. It is commonly seen in social media sites like Messenger and Instagram to be used for either media attachments or messages.
When to Use Each Format?
Now that we have clearly classified each image format, it is time to have a concrete basis for integrating them.
Let’s start with JPG images:
- Regular Images
If you are just going to attach a regular image, then JPG will be the best choice. It has a standard format, so if you don’t have any specific goal other than integrating your chosen image, you will be all set with this.
- Limited Bandwidth
You can also use this if you have a metered bandwidth, and you need to watch the resources you input into your site.
- Graphic-Based Media
If your picture has many colors and focuses on illustration rather than sentences and paragraphs, JPG is also the safest option.
For PNGs, on the other hand:
- Demonstrating a Process
PNG is recommended if you are demonstrating a tutorial with the need for screenshots. It will be easier to understand as users can easily view the images no matter how large.
- Shaped Images
Not all images are perpendicular. If you want your branding to be a circle, triangle, heart-shaped, or anything that requires special cropping, then PNG will be your best choice.
- Textual-Based Images
Images with a lot of text elements will also fall under PNG formats.
Lastly, here is when you can use GIFs:
- For Creative Concepts
GIFs are ideal for building an aesthetic website. Having animations is a good method to make your site stand out among others.
- Low-Quality Images
If your image has too low quality to display alone, consider converting them into a GIF so you can at least compensate for its layout.
The type of image that you want to have is significant in choosing the above formats.
Summary: JPG vs PNG vs GIF
The main factor that plays in choosing the right image format lies in your goals and vision for your website. It is impossible to use one format for all images as different purposes require different file types.
Although it may seem minor, this step should be taken seriously because it can affect the general quality of your platform.
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