June 20, 2021
 in 
Web Design

6 Best Image File Types for Your Websites

by

Eric Phung

The graphics you see on the internet are in the form of an image file. Almost everything you see on paper or t-shirts is derived from an image file. These files are available in a variety of formats, each of which is tailored to a certain purpose. Choosing the proper font for the purpose helps ensure that your design is of the highest visual quality and performs just as you expected. The incorrect format can result in a faulty print or a low-quality web image, as well as slowing down the website. 

To supplement the written material on most pages and articles, screenshots and photos are used. Just about 8% of websites are devoid of any visual material. Unfortunately, many website owners are still unsure about which image file types to utilize for various purposes. What's the result? They end up slowing down the loading speed of their site because their photographs aren't in the optimal format.

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We'll go over all of the most common image file extensions and when you should utilize them to get the greatest experience. 

Raster and vector image files are regarded as the two primary kinds of image file types and formats. Raster image file types display static pictures with fixed colors, positions, and proportions for each pixel based on the resolution. 

You can't resize the graphics efficiently since they're static; the original design and pixels will get stretched to fill the extra space. As a result, the image becomes hazy, pixelated, or otherwise deformed. A raster image format is used by the great majority of photographs and images on the internet.

Vector graphics are more versatile than static raster image file formats, which tie each design shape and color to a pixel.

Instead of a single pixel, vector graphics use a system of lines and curves on a cartesian plane, scaled in relation to the total area. This implies you can increase the original image resolution indefinitely without losing quality or distortion.

1. JPG (JPEG) - Joint Photographic Experts Group

JPEG is considered a popular image file format. It is mainly used by digital cameras to store photos as it supports 224 or 16,777,216 colors. This format also offers various levels of compression, which makes it ideal for web graphics. 

Most social networks (such as Facebook and Instagram) convert uploaded image files to JPEGs automatically. JPEG (or JPG) is a lossy compression raster image file format that is ideal for distributing photos. The word “lossy” means JPEG reduces the file size as well as the quality of the images when you use the format.

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The JPEG  image-compression platform is at its best on photographs and paintings of realistic scenes with smooth variations of tone and color. Line drawings and other literary or iconic visuals, on the other hand, are not well suited to JPEG because the sharp contrasts between neighboring pixels can generate obvious imperfections. Lossless graphics formats like TIFF, GIF, and PNG and raw image formats are superior for such images. Although the JPEG standard contains a lossless coding mode, most products are not supported this mode. In many cases, the quality of a JPG file is sufficient for web use, and the small file size allows you to benefit from a fast loading time. However, the drawback is that image file compression results in the loss of image data due to the combination of similar pixels, which leads to a loss of quality.

JPEG is commonly used as a lossy compression method, decreasing image fidelity and making it unsuitable for the exact replication of imaging data (some scientific and medical imaging applications and certain technical image processing work are not encouraged). JPEG is also not a good choice for files that will undergo multiple edits, as some image quality is lost each time the image is recompressed, particularly if the image is cropped or encoding parameters are changed. It is used perfectly for blog and article images, like product images, and so on. Developers discourage the use of JPEG for infographics with plenty of small text or tutorial screenshots where the text is key. JPGs are chosen by Squarespace because they are the most easily recognized and displayed by the majority of browsers (earning you major brownie points for SEO optimization)! Shopify also uses JPEG image file platform for product images, pages, and blog posts which provides the best overall balance of quality (quite good) and file size (not too big). Since JPEG files are compressed, they are the better choice for WIX and help improve your site's loading time. 

JPEG or JPG can be seen at Wix Editor because JPEG file are usually compressed when upload on Wix, which will increasing loading time, maintaining image quality and even cut a great amount of image sizes.

Webflow recommend to use- JPEG image file for increasing SEO rank on blog post, and compressed images bring more greater results.

JPEG file support all browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari).

2. PNG — Portable Network Graphics

PNG is a file format used for lossless image compression, maintaining detail, and contrast between colors. In particular, PNG offers much better text readability than the JPEG platform. 

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This makes PNG a more common choice for infographics, banners, screenshots, and other graphics that include both images and text. A PNG file is compressed in a lossless form, meaning all image information is restored when the file is decompressed during viewing. This advantage provides users with higher quality (lossless) images and clearly visible text. Nonetheless, you should take notice that larger file sizes can slow down your website if overused (especially high-resolution images). Take caution when using high-resolution images, as it will result in enormous files of several megabytes. You can modify the degree of transparency as well as make one color translucent (this is also called "opacity"). The interlacing of the image is supported and is faster in developing than in the GIF format.

Gamma correction enables you to "tune" the image to meet the color brightness requirements of specific display manufacturers. 

However, the PNG format doesn't support animation since it can't contain multiple images. The PNG is described as "extensible," however. Software companies will be able to create PNG variants that can contain multiple, scriptable images.

Shopify recommends using  PNG for decorative images such as logos, trims, and borders (these should be in your CSS code, not HTML, so this shouldn’t have a big impact on page load times. You should take into account that PNG images offer excellent quality, but they will lower image quality in case they are heavily compressed.

Wix considers PNG as the best format to upload high-quality images or images with a transparent background.

Webflow partners with PNG - the world-leading solution for image optimization to reduce the data size of your images by up to 80% and without quality loss. 

PNG file support all browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari).

3. SVG - Scalable Vector Graphics

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The Scalable Vector Graphics file format - SVG, usually known as a markup language-renders two-dimensional images right within the browser. It does not use pixels like a raster format but rather uses XML text to outline shapes and lines in the same way that mathematical equations create graphs. This means that you can scale up SVG images infinitely without the loss of quality. This platform is definitely suitable for small file sizes and loss-free scalings like simple illustrations, shapes, and text. It is not an ideal option for images or complex drawings. SVG is great for logos, icons, simple illustrations, and anything else you want to be freely scalable with your responsive design.

For example, Editor X browses 1000s of vector illustrations, shapes, and icons or uploads your own custom SVG files. 

Designers using SVG Image for designing icon, logo with simple vector line. Suitable for Webflow and Wix Editor.

Also, SVG file support all browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari) but usually with image quality limited.

4. GIF - Graphics Interchange Format

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The GIF image file format is another type of raster image file. GIFs use lossless compression, which does not degrade image quality. GIFs, on the other hand, store image data using indexed color, which means that a standard GIF image can only contain 256 colors. GIFs may only contain 256 colors so it is not ideal for storing digital photos like those taken by a digital camera. Even when taking advantage of a custom color palette and applying to dither to smooth out the image, photos saved in the GIF format often look grainy and unrealistic. The JPEG format, which supports millions of colors, is more commonly used for digital photo storage while GIFs are better suited for website buttons and banners because these images typically do not require various colors. One of the most significant benefits is that these GIF images have small file sizes and therefore they load quickly online without losing quality. Moreover, they can depict movements and emotions that a static image cannot. It can be ideal for creating training animations that improve the user experience. In contrast, they cannot be edited once the animation has been encoded into the actual GIF file. As a result, before you begin, you must ensure that you have the source data. If you don't, you may have to start over if you want to make minor changes to your existing GIF file.

GIF image should only be used on Wix Editor when necessary, because heavy image size can afftect website loading time.

GIF limited on several website builder because of their sizes and not great image quality. Overall, GIF image support all browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari).

5. WebP

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WebP is well-known for being a cutting-edge image format that offers superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Webmasters and web developers can use WebP to create smaller, richer images that speed up the web. When compared to PNGs, WebP lossless images are 26 percent smaller in size than PNGs. Lossy WebP images are 25-34 percent smaller than comparable JPEG images with the same SSIM quality index. In short, WebP features smaller files for the same or better image quality but is not supported by all browsers and image editors.

WIX and Editor X have chosen the WebP image file platform to offer users lossless and lossy compression, as well as smaller images with identical quality. 

Shopify also the one when using WebP with CDN, automically provide WebP format with image uploaded in PNG, JPG file types. With this being said, WebP have significiant lower file sizes almost 30%.

Unfortunately, WebP only support latest version Chrome, Firefox browsers.

6. AV1/AVIF

AVIF is an optimized image format that was developed to reduce the size of our images while maintaining the same quality (lossless). AVIF, like its forefathers (WebP, JPEG-XR, JPEG2000, PNG, and GIF), supports high-dynamic-range imaging. It supports full-resolution 10- and 12-bit color, resulting in images that are up to ten times smaller than those produced by other known formats.

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It is royalty-free, so you can use it without fear of legal ramifications. AV1 is currently backed by a slew of tech titans, including Google, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, and others. It has the most optimal compression and transparency, HDR, a wide color gamut, and other modern features are included. 

There is no universal image format that works well in all situations. Each image format has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. You can take into consideration from the above summary of each image format, including its overview, benefits, and drawbacks, as well as when and where it should be used before utilizing. 

Both WebP and AVIF are initiatives to replace the outdated JPG. But turn out, these new image file types cannot be used widely.

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