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Useful Insights into Different Graphic Formats for a Graphic Web Designer


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This article presents different graphic formats that a graphic web designer must know about. There are a number of graphic formats but only a few of them are supported by web browsers. What graphic file formats web designers should use? Here you can get all the necessary information.

Types of Graphic File Formats Supported By Web Browsers

The different graphic file formats supported by web browsers are:

  • GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)
  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) and vector graphics

Some Major Characteristics of Graphic File Formats

The major properties of graphic file formats are as under:


With this quality an image can be saved in a much smaller file. This is done with the help of a mathematical algorithm that creates pixel groups and treats them as a single item.


This makes use of a series of successive still pictures to give movement effects. Animated gifs work without browser plug-ins and supported by almost all devices.


This property transforms the image from solid to full transparent with varying degrees of opaqueness.

Progressive loading

In this initially a portion of the image is loaded but allows the user to view the picture seamlessly.


With interlacing an image is loaded first by drawing the odd and then the even rows. Interlacing and progressive loading is somewhat similar to each other but progressive loading is not based on alternative rows.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)

GIF keep smaller file sizes for speedy loading using a compression algorithm. They support transparency and interlace graphics and are limited to 256 colors, 8 bits. GIF is supported by all browsers and can be used to create animated graphics.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

JPEG is usually preferred for photographs where image quality is concerned. The files are compressed and support true color that is 24 bit. It supports progressive format. In JPEG files compression can be controlled by the graphic web designer that provides different levels of picture quality and file size. It is supported by all browsers.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG is an alternative to GIF files. It supports transparency, interlacing and 24 bit color. It allows a short description of the image to be used by search engines. Most browsers do not support PNG.

Vector Graphics

Raster images or bitmaps consists of a grid of colored pixels and most web graphics are raster images or bitmaps. You should create drawings and illustrations as vector graphics that uses mathematical descriptions for each element for drawing shapes, lines and color of the image. A graphic web designer can create vector graphics using Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand. For using vector graphics on a web page they must be converted into GIF, JPEG OR PNG format.

Which format to go for?

Mostly GIF or JPEG is used by web designers as they are universally supported. Use GIF for backgrounds, boxed, frames and any other graphical element that look fine using 8-bit color. Use JPEG format for photographs and illustrations where compression does not affect the visual quality of the image.


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