Tutorial: Best Image Formats and Sizes

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Tutorial: Best Image Formats and Sizes



Did you know that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than the written word? It’s no wonder that images are a big deal when it comes to communicating important messages to your audience. Using the best image formats and sizes for your website or print projects matters!



Why Images Matter



When your images are not optimized for your platform or the medium you are printing, they appear blurry or pixelated. They will reduce your credibility with the viewer. Additionally, photos and images that are slow to load on a webpage will cause the user to click away from your page or site before reading your content, potentially costing your business an engaged customer! 



Raster vs. Vector Images



Images are constructed digitally in two ways: raster and vector. Raster images are made up of tiny dots called pixels. We traditionally use pixel images when we take photos or create web graphics. Two examples of raster images are JPEGs and PNGs. Vector files are composed of smooth lines (based on math equations) and can shrink or scale without pixelating.



Here’s a straightforward tutorial on the best image formats and sizes you should use to communicate your message in the best way possible.



What is the best image format and size for the web?



One of the main places you will use photos, images, or drawings is on your website or in a blog post like this! These visual cues give the reader more information about the topic you are writing about or promoting and can inspire the viewer to take action. 



Ideally, these images should load quickly, appear crystal clear to the eye, and communicate quality. While the image size will vary depending on where you want it to appear on your website, here are some guidelines and best practices:



Web Image Format:



  • Use JPEG files for photos.
  • Use PNG files for illustrations.
  • A SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) is an excellent choice for displaying two-dimensional graphics, charts, and illustrations on websites. Plus, a vector file scales easily while keeping its resolution sharp! 



Web Image Size:



  • Use SVG or compressed JPEG or PNG images that are no bigger than 200 KB. 
  • Typical images should have a max width of 800 pixels.
  • For full-screen background images, aim for 1,500 pixels to 2,000 pixels.



What is the best image format and size for logos?



You will probably need and want to create your logo in multiple formats for different purposes. It may need to be small enough to fit on your business card or large enough to display well on a billboard! Follow these guidelines for some best practices:



Logo Image Format:



  • Use a JPEG file or small-sized high-resolution SVG for the web.
  • Use a PNG when you need a logo with a transparent background.
  • Use a high-resolution PDF file for print media.



Logo Image Size:



  • The best website logo image size is usually 250px wide by 100px high and no larger than 320 pixels wide by 70-100 pixels tall.
  • Most mobile devices are between 320 and 500 pixels wide, so your logo size for mobile websites needs to stay within this range to ensure it renders appropriately on the screen.



What is the best image format for general print media images?



  • JPEG – This is probably the most common image format used for photos and graphics. The compression levels are easily adjustable. A low compression setting can make JPEGs perfect for all print projects, such as brochures, magazines, packaging, and posters.
  • Printers typically prefer PDFs because the visuals are saved in a high-quality format. PDFs will often be higher quality than JPEGs because JPEGs compress images, leading to a loss in quality. 



What is the best image format for large-scale print media images?



Vectored images are the best option when working with large-format prints like billboards, event signage, etc. Vectored images scale easily and don’t blur when their size is adjusted up or down.



Though you can use raster images, one downside is pixelation. As you zoom into an image, it blurs, so if you want to create large-format printed media such as a billboard, a raster image can make your final product out of focus. Though you can use raster graphics, we recommend using vector graphics when designing large-scale images for printing.





Whether you are upgrading your images on your website or designing flyers for your next promotion, refer to this tutorial to help you choose the best image formats and sizes to ensure your project turns heads and makes sales!