Although the format is not particularly new, SVG images are increasingly popular in website design. All major browsers support the format, and in doing so it changes the way we think about and render images for the web
Why is it so popular? How exactly is this file format different? Today, we have the answers and other information you need to know to start using this file type.
What is SVG?
Scalable Vector Graphics or SVG is a format for a vector-based image file developed for the web.
The format has grown in popularity due to high-definition displays where users can see every pixel (if any). Because it’s a vector format, the image is rendered the same way – and in perfect detail – regardless of size.
The markup language was first developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, which is better known as the W3C, in 1999. The W3C defines scalable vector graphics as “a markup language for describing two-dimensional graphical applications and images, and a set of related graphical interfaces”.
It’s supported by all modern browsers – so you don’t have to worry about files playing correctly or not – and it works regardless of device type.
So what makes this format so popular and why are more designers using it? Simply because it works very useful for digital design.
Scalable vector graphics files are small and scalable. While the format is best suited for shapes, it has a variety of practical applications. Logos, icons, user interface elements and lots of other design bits can work in this format.
The biggest bonus is that they are vector. So an SVG image can be used at almost any size. Scalable vector graphics files are easy to manipulate and control. Not only can it be saved as a still image, but you can also add interactivity and filters to make the image even more fun. Files can be animated and colored.
Here are some practical applications for using the format:
- logos or images;
- as background image;
- as an object, such as a button;
- graphics or drawings.
This format is usually best suited for images that may evolve or change over time or depending on device type, or include animation or other dynamic effects.
Use the format for images like logos, sketches, shapes, graphics and charts, or other simple SEO images.
Benefits of using SVG
So why would you stray from your trusty JPG or GIF to SVG? There are a lot of reasons why SVG can be the best advantage in your projects.
And there is even the potential to use the format for printing.
SVG is a vector format. This is only important when thinking about responsive web design, where image sizes often change based on the device. An SVG is small enough that one file can do all the work without losing quality on larger screens. SVG images and behaviors are defined with XML, which means that images can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed.
You can do almost anything with an image in this format, just like you can with any other image, such as including it in a variety of design techniques. It’s easy to add filters, blend modes, wear effects, color, clipping and masking, drop shadows, and almost any other technique you want.
SVG files are accessible and work with open web standards. You can create SVG using text-based code or with the image you draw. This allows for some freedom depending on your need and level of expertise in different areas.
File sizes are tiny and can be compressed. This means that a graphics that might be large can increase the load time. This is always a bonus.
What’s next for SVG?
The future for this format is just beginning. As an adopted mobile image format (and standard), the use and development of SVG will continue to grow.
According to W3C, “the format is currently under development and will add new ease-of-use features to SVG, as well as tighter integration with HTML, CSS, and DOM, and features that are not supported by all browsers.”
Other benefits are also added. Printing hardware companies are looking at ways to better use SVG for printing processes, and it has the support of industry leaders such as Adobe and Canon. Use in mapping and GIS is also expanding by allowing better mapping and zooming capability.
When you really start thinking about it, there is an almost endless opportunity for how to use and implement SVG in web projects and print design.
This is one of the beauties of the vector-based format.
Already using this format for your projects? If not, are you ready to make the switch? The use of the format in web development has virtually no usage limits.
SVG is growing in popularity almost daily, and since it is an open-source tool, these changes and advantages are very practical for you. You are not tied to any vendor or product and can create images that are fully compatible on the modern web. You can implement the format in your web promotion or SEO optimization strategy.
Using this format where possible in a website can reduce load times. Your website speed will definitely be improved.