It’s the all-important question —to PNG or not to PNG?

Visual content is all around us, so ensuring you’re using the correct image types is important in keeping up to standards.

But what really is the difference between a PNG and JPG file? Should you be sacrificing quality over load speed? Does Facebook and Twitter really care what type of file you’re using?

Let’s dive in and find out.

PNG and JPG — what’s the difference?

A PNG and JPG (or JPEG) are types of image files. Though they may look relatively similar — they both serve different purposes and offer different levels of quality.

JPG

The JPG was first created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group back in 1992 (hence its name). They were (and still are) a committee of people who want a way to make high-quality and large image files smaller and easily shareable on the web. That sounds pretty good to us! It means that marketers, content creators, blog writers — anyone using images on the web can consistently meet image compression standards (and don’t end up with a horrible pixelated image that makes you wanna 🤮).

That being said, you can expect to lose a level of quality when compressing a high-quality image into a JPG. That’s because a JPG uses lossy compression, meaning it removes some of the information needed to render the exact original image.

So, when should you use a JPG?

If you’ve heard of website load speeds, you’ll understand the efforts you have to go to ensure you're not uploading anything that hinders that speed. After all, people browsing your website aren’t going to stick around if they’re watching the dreaded loading bar for too long. 😬

One of the elements that impact load speed is your images. If you’re using large image files in your blog posts or landing pages, your browser will take longer to load your page. This is where JPGs will give you the best option to improve load speed, though (as I mentioned) you may expect a slight reduction in quality.

When it comes to social media, all platforms should support JPG files. Facebook, for example, will compress your image down to its required size - no matter the size of the file you upload. To avoid any fuzziness, make sure your image is scaled to the exact dimensions to avoid too much auto compression.

PNG

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. Unlike the JPG), a PNG is lossless. This means it doesn’t lose any of its information on compression. Typically, people use PNGs for graphics (such as logos), text objects and line drawings. It also supports transparency, which is super handy if you need to place a cut-out logo against a different background.

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When would you use a PNG?

A PNG offers a lovely, crisp image, but it does slow down web pages. Because they aren’t so compressed as JPGs, you’ll find that they’ll take a little longer to load on your website. So be wary —too many will affect your load speed, which in turn, can hinder the experience of users (not what you want when you’re trying to convert 🤑).

However, PNG is recommended when you’re using small graphics and logos. And, if you want to drop a transparent graphic into a blog post, you won’t achieve this with a JPG.

Tip ✨When we upload images onto our website (dash.app), we always run them through Tiny.png. This is a free image compression tool that reduces file sizes, whilst maintaining quality. Tools like Canva also offer compression on download — handy if you want to quickly upload an image to social.

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What’s better for storage space — PNG or JPG?

As we’ve gathered, PNG files are slightly larger than JPGs (because they contain more information). A PNG will take up more storage space on your shared drives, but you also don’t want to miss out by only keeping JPGs handy.

If you use tools to organise your visual content, like Dash (that’s us), you won’t need to worry about clogging up space on your hard drives. Our cloud-based digital asset management solution has been built to store and manage a large amount of data (we’re talking terabytes) and different file types

Perhaps something to consider if you use image files on a regular basis? 😇

 

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