In the world of computers, devices store files across a wide variety of formats. This is to encrypt information that can only specific computer applications can open.
For example, Microsoft Word encrypts its documents in the .docx format. Microsoft Excel uses both the .xlsx and .csv formats. Since both applications create different files, different formats are also necessary.
This brings us to the conversation of SVG vs PNG. Both media formats are popular for images and logos. Though, what’s the difference between the two formats?
Which format reigns supreme? In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between PNG vs SVG to give you a full answer that makes sense.
What is an SVG File?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed scalable vector graphics (SVGs) in 1999. The file format exists in XML and allows for the storage of interactive vector files.
SVG files are the successor of the original raster graphic formats, such as PNG, JPEG, and GIF. To do this, computer users can adjust the size of SVG files without losing quality.
Because of this, SVG files are an open standard on the internet. They can also be compressed, scripted, and indexed on search engines like Google and Bing.
SVG files are the modern iteration of image files on the internet. In the SVG size vs PNG debate, it’s worth mentioning that these files can be easily created using an ordinary vector graphics editor, such as:
- Adobe Photoshop
Most internet users are highly familiar with PNG files, since they have been featured on computers for more than 25 years. SVG files are more geared towards logos and specialized images.
Any image that requires constant resizing and maximum quality should be converted to an SVG file. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this format has made PNG files obsolete.
What is a PNG File?
The story behind the PNG file format is an interesting one. In the early days of the internet, compressing files was usually done in GIF format. Though in the December of 1994, computer scientists realized that Unisys patented the algorithm to convert files to GIFs.
Angered at the development, computer scientists began to ponder how they could create a free-to-use format for the entire internet community. In 1996, the W3C approved the idea behind the PNG file format.
And, the rest is history. While PNG doesn’t support animation like GIF, it’s still one of the most accessible file formats for these reasons:
Superior Lossless Compression:
PNG files will never lose quality no matter how many times they’re saved. This is why PNG files are better than JPG files.
Best for High-Quality Images:
Since PNG files never lose quality over time, they’re ideal for screenshots and other quality images. If you need to edit images, you should use this format to keep your files clear and pristine.
Ideal for Logos:
PNG files use transparent pixels. This makes it possible to overlay different images, such as logos over backgrounds.
To learn more about PNG files, make sure to check out this helpful article at https://setapp.com/how-to/png-file.
SVG Files: The Pros
Since we’re on the discussion of SVG vs PNG performance, let’s discuss the reasons why you may want to use the SVG format. In particular, here are all the advantages of SVG files:
- Great Scalability: SVG files will never lose quality if they’re resized or zoomed in
- Versatile Format: SVG files are an open standard on the internet, meaning developers can use JS and CSS can play around with them
- Animation Potential: Developers can animate SVG files using JS and CSS
- Lightweight Format: SVG files don’t take up much space, unlike PNG files
- Simple Editing: You can use a simple text editor to create an SVG file
As you can see, SVG files were designed to be the complete successor to PNG files. But, there are some noticeable drawbacks we’ll discuss below.
SVG Files: The Cons
Do you want to use SVG vs PNG for website development purposes? If so, here are some reasons to reconsider:
- Basic Format: SVG files are not designed to handle detailed images like PNG files
- Not Fully Compatible: Despite being around since 1999, SVG files don’t work on some legacy browsers
Now that we’ve discussed when to use SVG vs PNG files, let’s explore how PNG files compare.
PNG Files: The Pros
PNG files are one of the oldest formats in computer science. Here are some of the advantages they bring:
- Lossless Compression: Again, PNG files will never lose quality no matter how many times they’re saved
- Supports Detailed Images: The PNG format can handle all kinds of detailed images, from logos to snapshots
- Highly Compatible: PNG files are accepted by everything, from legacy to modern browsers
Since PNG files are older than SVG files, they do have more drawbacks. We’ll discuss these below in more detail.
PNG Files: The Cons
PNG files have quite a few disadvantages that SVG files were created to solve. These cons include:
- Not Ideal for Printing: PNG files can lose resolution and quality when printed
- Hefty Files: PNG files are very large, often ten times larger than JPG files
- Can’t Be Animated: PNG files can’t be animated; they must be converted to the MNG format
- Required More Memory Space: Since PNG files are large, they’ll use more of your computer’s memory space to process.
If you need a compact file format that can be animated and printed, you’re better off sticking to SVG files.
SVG vs PNG: The Final Verdict
As you can see, the SVG vs PNG debate isn’t as complicated as it seems. PNG files were the golden standard image format for many years until SVG files came along.
Still, you can use both file formats to create, save, edit, and compress image files with relative ease. Thus, there is no clear superior when it comes to the two file options.
With that said, do you want to read more articles about computer technology? If so, check out our blog for the latest articles on computers and software.