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Part VI: Visual Design for the Web > Common Web Graphic Formats

Chapter 28. Common Web Graphic Formats

In this chapter

Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)

Portable Network Graphics (PNG)

Graphic Optimization

Designing for the Real World

Size matters, so they say. On the Web, you want to keep your sizes small without sacrificing quality. Regardless of the media with which you're working—audio, video, animations, or graphics—ensuring that your files are light and your design still bright is a sure way to successful site design.

Understanding the available file formats used in Web graphic design is essential. One of the most daunting aspects of constructing a new Web site from scratch is the need for high-quality, well-designed graphics. The designer's responsibility isn't just limited to creating visual appeal: This is the Web, not clay or canvas, and working in a digital medium brings with it uniquely digital responsibilities.

Web graphic design is rife with myths about what Web graphics are and how they are created. On one hand, the core ideas are incredibly simple; on the other hand, many try their hands at graphics and just can't seem to get the process right.

Whether you're a well-studied and professional designer or are just learning how to create Web graphics, there is no reason why your Web site should be any less visually strong and technically well optimized than any professional site.

File optimization—the act of working with files to achieve both quality appearance and acceptable download times—begins with an understanding of the file formats that are available. I'll begin by describing file formats available on the Web, and which options are available to you within those formats. After you've gained a strong understanding of file formats, you move on to the tools that will help you work with the format and optimization concepts you've learned.


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