Workshop 5: Image Formats

01/03/2017 – Image Formats

GIF (Graphics interchange format):

This is used for flat graphics, it can contain simple animations and basic ‘on’ or ‘off’ transparency. This compression type removes colours to reduce file size.

JPEG (Joint photographic expert group):

This type is mostly used for photos, it cant support millions of colours and is a good compression type, most commonly used.

PNG (Portable Network Graphic):

This type contains multi-level transparency, rather than ‘on’ or ‘off’ like a gif. PNGs are commonly used for screenshots, basic images, diagrams, and flat graphics


Each file type is ideal for a different situation, and must be evaluated for each artefact, finding the balance of file size and quality. A quicker loading image makes for an overall better UX, a smaller file size allows this, alongside reduced data costs. A higher quality image also makes for a better UX, but longer load times, so a balance must be struck.

The differences in each image can be clearly since as the quality levels and file types change. Each compression format, JPEG, PNG, and GIF have their own strengths and weakness’, making them each particularly suited to a certain task.

JPEGS retained the most detail in the image for their respective file sizes, making them ideal for web and mobile deployment; it was the most efficient compression method and is the most commonly used technique for images on the web.

PNGs held their image detail incredibly well, however their file size and therefore load times were far larger than any other file type. PNG is not an ideal compression method for online deployment were factors such as data and loading times are crucial. PNGs are therefore best suited to high quality printed images.

GIF were the worst performing file types, with medium to high load times and file sizes out of the group, however the image quality deteriorated quickly compared to JPEG and PNG. GIF therefore performed in a similar fashion to JPEG, but JPEG outperformed in image quality.


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