JPG vs GIF vs PNG

b2ap3_thumbnail_jpgWe have a lot of file choices when it comes to logos, website images and pictures we want to put into power point and the like. The three main formats are .jpg (sometimes shows as .jpeg), .gif and .png.

So what are the differences and when is one more useful over another?

A jpg is sort of the universal standard for images. You can create high resolution versions or low resolution (for websites). It is most universally accepted in nearly any program that accepts images of any kind. Because it can store higher resolutions than gif images, it is often preferred. The drawback is that jpgs cannot have a transparent background.

The gif was, and may still be, the second most popular image type because unlike jpgs it allows for transparent backgrounds. This comes at a cost because gif files are renowned for their low resolution and ‘pixelated’ feel. Often what looks like a transparent image, when printed, will appear to have some grey ‘dots’ around where the transparent part was supposed to be, a side affect of the low quality of gif images. One bonus and the reason gifs are still popular is that gifs can be animated. Since gifs are also widely accepted on most online image uploads (rotating banners, avatars, forum signatures, etc) and we’re a culture that likes moving images, gifs remain useful.  They are not what I would recommend unless animation is your goal or your image has only one or two colors.

Png is a fairly new format compared to jpg and gif. It combines jpg’s high resolution capability with a gif’s transparency abilities. So you can hive a very high resolution image with transparent background. The reason I call this a fairly new format is, up until the last 5 or so years many browsers like Internet Explorer and graphic programs like Microsoft Office, didn’t play nicely with png. Very often you would get weird errors where you’d just see a big black box instead of the image or nothing at all. Thankfully png has become much more accepted as a universal format. Of the three, I most like png for its versatility.

You do run the risk of older programs not playing nice with png files, however, so when it comes to logos I recommend getting a jpg, a gif and a png version.

As you can see there are times and places for each format. It entirely depends on what you intend on using the image for. Of course, with logos, I hope you’re also insisting on the original vector version so you can make new formats and sizes as needed. You can read about what a vector format is here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *