When you think about website images they mostly seem to blur under the single group of “images”. Is this all that there is to it? Not quite.
There is an astounding array of different possibilities and variations to the images you can add to your website; to name a few of the most common formats– JPG, PNG, SVG, and WebP. When considering the image, the format plays an important role but this is not all you need to take into consideration, the qualities of the image such as – does it need to have some transparency, and the quality it needs to maintain, and the image size.
I have made a summary of a few of the main web design file formats:
JPG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)
The JPG image format is probably the most commonly used website image format at this current moment and this is with good reason.
- This type of image file is compressed to varying degrees depending on how far the end-user wants to strip the image of unnecessary data. But the more it is compressed the lower the quality of the image and the more grainy it will appear at higher resolutions.
- The JPG file format is great to help your website load fast due to its small file size but it is not the smallest size out there but it does have a larger web browser compatibility than others.
- This file format cannot have any transparency so is not as useful for logos etc that often require a degree of transparency.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
The GIF format of images are often used to portray simple looping animations, this has become very popular on internet forums and even for companies to demonstrate product uses and apps etc.
- Photographs or graphics that contain a gradient will often look poor in quality due to the limitation of 256 colours.
- If the image is simple, it can work well as GIFs are small in file size and can also support animation.
- GIFs can be edited in image editors such as gimp as each individual photo acts as a frame.
PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
PNG images are often used through the graphic design world and on the internet in particular use cases.
- PNGs are a commonly used file in design for logos and other images that require some form of transparency.
- PNGs are high quality and can maintain a high image resolution, so look great even when zoomed in.
- This file format supports a large number of colours and as such can hold fine details that are lost in other formats.
- The PNG format is a large file type so is not ideal for use with large images that can often start to take up megabytes of data rather than kilobytes which are preferred in web design. A PNG will take a lot more time to load than a comparable JPG image.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
SVGs are popular for logos and other graphics that need to be increased and decreased in size depending on the use case.
- A slightly different type of image as this can be scaled without limit, so as big or as small as needed without losing quality.
- SVG files have a small file size are useful for simple images such as logos and graphics.
WebP is a relatively new file type that was created by Google, it uses AI in order to reduce the file size and replace parts of the images.
- WebP images have a vastly reduced file size compared to other formats and is an ideal format for websites.
- One issue with WebP files is not all browsers support the file time so can sometimes display an image error (Safari and Opera). This can be set to display for browsers that support it and to display other files types to browsers that do not support it.
- WebP can have transparency and combined with its high image quality and small file size this makes it a very useful file format to use on your site.