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PNG vs JPG: What You Should Know

Learn the difference between JPG and PNG files, and discover which format is best for your business needs based on key factors.

If you need to add pictures to a file or document, you need to pick the right file type. You have probably thought about PNG images and JPG images. You need to think about the compression process, the quality of the background, and how the image transfers across different documents.

Both options are great file types, but there are a few differences you need to note. If you are curious about PNG vs JPG, take a look at some of the most important points you need to keep in mind. That way, you are familiar with the difference between JPG and PNG.

What Is a JPG Image?

Before diving into PNG vs JPG, it is important to define each option. JPG images have been the standard compressed format in digital photography for a long time. It is commonly used for online image sharing because it does a great job of balancing the size of the file and the quality of the image.

While the exact ratio varies depending on the settings you use and the program you employ, the typical ratio is 10:1. This means that if you have an image that is 20 MB, and you decide to export it as a JPG, it will be roughly 2 MB after the compression process. You should not notice any difference in quality, but it depends on the content of the original image.

The JPG image relies on something called discrete cosine transform or DCT, to give you the best results. There is an algorithm that looks at the image, determines which pixels are similar, and merges them together. While JPG does work well, with each copy, other pixels get merged, and you cannot get them back. Therefore, try to avoid this file format if the image has sharp lines or a lot of text.

Some of the top benefits of JPG images include:

  • The file size will be very small when you are done, helping you save space.
  • There is integrated EXIF support, which can be helpful in some situations.
  • Just about every program supports JPG files because they are so common, which means that you should not run into a lot of roadblocks.

On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks to this option as well. They include:

  • During the compression process, you will lose pixels that you cannot get back.
  • This is not a great option for CMYK printing.
  • There is no transparency support for this image option.

Make sure that you think about the benefits and drawbacks of this image compression option. This can be a strong program in some situations, but it is not the best option for all situations.

What Is a PNG Image?

So, what is PNG? PNG images have become popular for those looking for a lossless file format, and they are designed as an alternative to Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, which people commonly associate with moving images. PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, and there are some major differences between PNG and JPG images.

PNG images do not cost you anything during the compression process. This means that no matter how many times you take something and compress it into a PNG image, you should not lose any quality. PNG is also a very detailed process. This means that it can be a great option if you have images that have a lot of contrast. PNG is often the default file option if you take a screenshot, as PNG images can give you a pixel-for-pixel representation of whatever image you are working with. You don't have to worry about compressing pixels together, which means that PNG does a better job of preserving the original image.

You also need to be familiar with the compression process used by PNG images. PNG uses a specific compression process called LZW. This is the same compression format that TIFF and GIF images use. This is a two-string compression process that takes various strings and chunks of data from the image, matches those to codes held in the dictionary stored in the image file, and maintains a much higher quality. Therefore, you should not have to worry about losing valuable strings of code or data during the compression process, which helps you preserve the quality of the image itself.

Some of the top benefits of PNG images include:

  • It is a lossless compression process, meaning that you do not have to worry about losing large chunks of the data as the compression process takes place.
  • This is a great option for images that have a lot of text and for screenshots taken with a mobile device.
  • You get access to transparency support, which can help you preserve even more of the image as the process unfolds.

Some of the top drawbacks of this image type include:

  • The image size is significantly larger than other image file types.
  • You will not get access to any native EXIF support.
  • Depending on the program and the file itself, it could take longer for you to compress the image.

Even though this is a newer option for compressing images, it is still a popular one that is gaining acceptance rapidly. Think about the benefits and drawbacks of this image compression option before you decide if it is right for you.

Size Limitations for JPG and PNG

As you go through the process of learning about these two image types, you need to know about the size limitations. PNG images do not compress the file as much, so you are still left with a relatively large file; however, JPG images compress down to 10 percent of the original file size, in general, helping you save even more space.

What Is the Difference Between JPG and PNG?

Clearly, both JPG images and PNG images can work well in certain situations. The right file type for one person is not necessarily the right file type for you, so what are the differences that you need to know? Some of the top differences include:

Compression Process

The first major difference between JPG and PNG is that JPG uses a different compression format. JPG uses DCT compression, which has been popular for a long time. It works by taking pixels that look similar and putting them together. It helps you generate a much smaller file size, but it means that you lose data in the process.

In contrast, PNG images use something called LZW compression. It leads to a much more detailed image. If you need to maintain a much higher image quality, you might want to go with PNG images; however, keep in mind that the ultimate file size will be a bit larger with PNG images.

Transparent Backgrounds

Transparent backgrounds represent a major difference between JPG images and PNG images. In general, JPG images do not support transparent backgrounds. Therefore, if you have a transparent background, you should go with a PNG image instead. It will preserve the quality of the background much better.

File Size

Furthermore, you need to think about the file size of the images with which you are working. If you want to have the smallest file size possible, and maximize your space, then you should probably go with JPG images. They traditionally use a 10:1 compression ratio.

While PNG images are higher quality, they are also much larger once the compression image is done. While they are still significantly smaller than the original file size, you will not be able to fit as many of them on the device.

Photography or Graphics

You should consider the quality of the graphics as well. Photographers tend to use JPG images since they need to store more images on their devices. They need a smaller file size to fit as many images as possible. On the other hand, if you have an image with a lot of sharp lines and fine details, or if you have an image that has a lot of text, you need to preserve the definition of the file. In that case, you should go with a PNG image instead.

So Which Should You Choose?

In the end, there are a lot of factors that you need to think about carefully as you try to decide which compression option you want to use and which file type is best for your needs.

You must make sure that you maintain the quality of your images, but you must also check that the file size is not too large for your purposes. That is why you need to use the best possible program to meet your needs, particularly if you want to remain competitive in the current business world.

You can rely on Mailchimp and select from a wide variety of offerings that you can use to maximize the use of the digital tools you have at your disposal. For example, if you want to produce creative content through a content studio, then you might want to use a creative assistant from Mailchimp that can help you. Or, you might want to create content using the best possible tools from Mailchimp. You can even build a website. Take a look at everything that Mailchimp has to offer, learn about other image file types that could be helpful for you, and place your digital marketing campaign in the best position possible to be successful.

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