10 Common Image Formats for Every Creative Designer

Oftentimes, graphic designers and artists face the situation of choosing a particular image format. Since there are varied options for it, it might be a little confusing to make the right decision. However, this guide is the answer to all your queries. Here, we are going to talk about the best common image formats that you can utilize. Apart from that, we will also offer you some tips that can aid you in selecting the right format for your needs.

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The common image formats mentioned here are widely used by the creative artists for their photography and designing projects. Some of them might also be familiar to you. So, go through the whole list thoroughly and decide the one best for you.

10 of the Common Image Formats to Use

  1. GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

    Extension: .gif
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: animated banners, memes.
    Compression: Lossless

    Advantages

    • Faster load time
    • Offers animation support
    • File size is small
    • Able to save images with transparency.

    Disadvantages

    • Color palette can go to a maximum of 256
    • CMYK support is not available
  2. JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)

    Image File Extensions: .jpg, .jpeg, .jfif, .pjpeg, .pjp
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: Easy web uploading, shared on social media platforms, supports printing, taking camera snaps
    Compression: Lossy

    Advantages

    • Software compatibility
    • Wide usage
    • Allows compression control to some extent
    • Can save memory space
    • Lower in file size

    Disadvantages

    • Flat layers and difficulty in editing
    • Subjected to generational degradation
    • Unable to saved with transparency
  3. PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

    Extension: .png
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: screen optimization, web usage.
    Compression: Lossless

    Advantages

    • Offers more color support than GIF
    • No loss of quality
    • Images can be saved with transparency.

    Disadvantages

    • File size is larger than JPEG
    • Limited color space for RGB
  4. RAW image formats

    Image File Extensions: .raw, .cr2, .nef, .orf, .sr2, etc.
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: Photography,
    Compression: None

    Advantages

    • Contains a lot of photo information
    • Is unprocessed
    • Best for image editing
    • Able to save metadata

    Disadvantages

    • File size is large
    • Cannot work on all photo editing software
    • Not compatible with printers
  5. BMP (Bitmap file)

    Extension: .bmp
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: Archived copies, high-quality scanning.
    Compression: None

    Advantages
    • Compatible with every system
    Disadvantages
    • CMYK is not supported
    • File size is large.
  6. TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

    Image File Extensions: .tif, .tiff
    Browser Compatibility: Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: high-end graphics, image archival, photo editing.
    Compression: Lossless

    Advantages
    • Has number of pages
    • Different options for compression
    • Layer retention ability
    • Able to save images with transparency.
    Disadvantages
    • Compatible with less applications
    • Larger file size than JPEG or RAW
  7. PSD (Photoshop Document)

    Extension: .psd
    Browser Compatibility: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
    Specialty: image editing, printing, digital Photoshop projects .
    Compression: None

    Advantages
    • Supports high-quality graphics data
    • Provides image transparency
    • Compatible with both raster and vector images
    • Versatile
    Disadvantages
    • No web support
    • Not compatible with every printer
    • Large size of files
  8. PDF (Portable Document Format)

    Extension: .pdf
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: documents, graphics, printing.
    Compression: Lossless

    Advantages

    • Can be used for displaying text, raster, and vector graphics
    • Has multiple pages
    • Ease of export
    • Supports interactive elements.

    Disadvantages

    • Difficulty in editing
    • Unable to be viewed on web
    • Only limited to Mac and Windows operating system
  9. EPS (Encapsulated PostScript file)

    Extension: .eps
    Browser Compatibility: Safari
    Specialty: logo, illustration, icon, vector artwork.
    Compression: None

    Advantages
    • Universal format
    • Used in any size
    • Allows raster graphic conversion
    • Easier viewed on different applications.
    Disadvantages
    • Not compatible with all printers
    • Edited only in specific illustration software
    • Is no longer developed
  10. SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

    Extension: .svg
    Browser Compatibility: Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
    Specialty: 3D software importing, responsive web designs.
    Compression: Lossless

    Advantages
    • Supports text, vector, and raster graphics
    • Offers animation support
    • Supports interactive elements
    • Can be resized
    • Optimized file size
    Disadvantages
    • Cannot be optimize for printing
    • Not compatible with high color depth images

How to Choose the Best Image Format?

While choosing the right image file types, you first need to identify the reasons why you are using it. Identifying them will help you in making the best decision for your needs. Apart from the given reasons, you can also consider other things such as the type of picture quality, size, space, time of opening or uploading, etc.However, you do not have to worry since the selection process is a bit easier as compared to selecting the video formats.

Reason 1: Pictures
In this case, you need to choose the formats with lossy compression. For instance, JPEG and WebP. The former will offer more compatibility while the latter will provide compression. You can also use both for minimizing the download time and improving the quality. However, make sure that WebP is your first choice.

Reason 2: Screenshots
With screenshots, you should not compromise on the image quality, which is why you need to use a lossless image format. PNG can be the best choice for screenshots. However, if you are looking for better compression, then you can choose WebP. The former can be utilized if there are texts present on the screenshot since they are more likely to go blur.

Reason 3: Icons
Since icons are smaller in size, choosing the wrong picture format will result in the loss of details. That is why go for a lossless format like WebP in this case. However, if you are facing problems with support, then PNG will be a good choice only if you are not offering a fallback. Consider choosing GIF, if the icons have less than 256 colors in it.

Reason 4: Diagrams, charts, or drawings
Diagrams, charts, or drawings are usually represented in the form of vector graphics. That is why your best bet, in this case, would be SVG. Alternatively, you can also use a lossless file type such as PNG. However, if you are going for a lossy format like WebP or JPEG, make sure to keep the compression level in check to prevent the texts or shapes from getting blurred.

Hope that the blog post was useful enough to clear your doubts regarding the common image formats and how to choose the best one according to your needs. We do understand that it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. However, you need to have a strong understanding of the various image formats if you wish to utilize it correctly. Besides, think about the benefits you can achieve with its help. With the increasing competition in the creative domain, the more you are aware of these tiny details, the more it will be helpful for your projects. So, utilize this post to the maximum to get outstanding results for your purpose.