Today, PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is one of the most popular raster formats used online. The format was developed in 1995 as an alternative to the popular GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), which is patented and requires a license. The main objective of creating the PNG format was to find something more flexible that’s also free of patents. There are several advantages of PNG.
Advantages of PNG
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the features and advantages of PNG over other image standards such as GIF and JPEG. We’ll also highlight when you should use the PNG format.
The PNG file format was developed by a group of developers to come up with a new image file that would support a single, static picture. The first iteration of the PNG file format as created in 1996, with further versions created thereafter until 2003 when it became an international standard.
Advantages of the PNG Format
- Lossless Compression: One of the most significant advantages of PNG is that it is a lossless compression. This simply means that images compressed under PNG retain their quality, details and data regardless of repeated encoding and decoding. This can be very helpful in graphic design.
- Wide Color Depth: The format works well for different types of digital images such as graphics and photographs.
- Support for Transparency: Another significant advantage of the PNG format, unlike formats such as JPEG, is that it supports different levels of transparency.
- Ideal for Editing Images: Now that you’ve learned the optimal lighting for photography, you don’t want that to go to waste by using the wrong file for your design. The PNG format is ideal if you want to store digital images for editing because the quality of the images can be maintained. The format retains the quality of images regardless of the number of times it is encoded and decoded. Using PNG, therefore, provides you with a flexible image format that can scale up or down according to your needs.
- Solid Colors and Sharp Edges: Note that formats such as JPEG are not ideal for sharp edges and large solid colors between objects because the image gets distorted. The PNG format doesn’t distort the images, which makes it ideal for images containing graphics, line art and texts. This also makes it a great option for logo printing.
When Should You Use PNG?
- PNG files can shrink to very tiny sizes – especially if the images have simple text, shapes or colors. This explains why PNG files are the best for web graphics, such as on e-commerce sites.
- You have illustrations with limited colors. PNG files are the best for a small color palette, although any image will work.
- PNG images can have varying degrees of transparency (unlike GIFs which only have on/off transparency). This is possible because they have a variable “alpha channel”. With greater color depths, your image will be more vibrant than you would with a GIF, for example. This makes the format ideal for high-quality web graphics.
With the variety of image formats available today, you can use the right format for your images to preserve space and quality on your website, in your emails and digital scrapbooks. Given the numerous advantages of PNG, you can leverage this format to make the most of your images.