JPG, GIF, PNG.. what does it all mean?

It’s hard to know which image file type to use. Whether it’s your job to create the office posters that tell people not to stand on the toilets when they pee, or you are the designated ‘marketing’ person in your team it’s confusing.

It changes depending on the use (online or print), colour quality and file size. If you are uploading a file to a website it can slow things down if it is too big. Or if you are printing, the image will be fuzzy and not scalable if it is too small.

Using a logo image? Chances are you will want the background to be transparent.

How do you pronounce ‘GIF’, anyway? We can help answer the many digital marketing questions you have if you get in touch.

But, if you would like to know exactly which image file type to use, here is a handy infographic Know Your File Types by WhoIsHostingThis?

image file types

What is a JPEG?

File extension: JPG or .JPEG
Stands for: Joint Photographic Experts Group
Pronounced: “jay-peg”
When to use: Still images, photos, complex colouring

What is a GIF?

File extension: .GIF
Stands for: Graphics Interchange Format
Pronounced: “jif” (creator Steve Wilhite confirmed the hotly debated jif or gif pronunciation)
When to use: Web graphics, small icons, animations, simple images

What is a PNG?

File extension: .PNG
Stands for: Portable Network Graphics
Pronounced: “ping” or “P-N-G”
When to use: Web images such as logos that require transparency, complex images like photographs if the file size is not an issue.

What is a TIFF?

TIFF produces large files at 300 ppi with no quality loss.
File extension: .TIF or .TIFF
Stands for: Tagged Image File Format
Pronounced: “tiff”
When to use: Storing photos that will be edited. When preserving layers in Photoshop and large image printing. Don’t use on the web.