5 Tips to Optimize Your Images for the Web

By Brandon Shields

RGB and CMYK colors

A picture can speak 1,000 words. Images are more important than ever in conveying your message. However, images improperly exported can look low quality, cause your site to load slowly and lose engagement from users. Here are some tips you can use to make sure every graphic is beautiful and crisp.

1. Saving images in the proper color space

There are two color spaces computers use to display images: RGB and CMYK. RGB (red, green, blue) is the standard color space for digital devices. By default, any image created by a camera or computer is saved in this color profile. However, you may have images that are CMYK, a color profile used by printers. Before using these images on the web, a program such as Adobe Photoshop can convert the colors to RGB so your images are vivid and bright.

To convert a CMYK image to RGB, open the image in Adobe Photoshop. Go to Image on your menu bar, and in the dropdown hover over Mode and select RGB Color. This will convert the image to the RGB color space and you may notice some colors are more vibrant. Next, go to File then Save As and save the file. Be sure to change the file name so you or someone else knows it is a file for digital applications.

2. Compress the file sizes

When saving images for the web, we recommend the file size should be less than 2MB (2048 kilobytes) to maintain fast page loading speeds. That being said, we also want images to be sharp and not pixelated. Image quality is contingent on factors such as the final file size and compression settings. With the right compression settings, you can achieve good image quality and a small file size. Generally, you can save a file with an image compression level between 70-80% without seeing pixelation, or the individual points of color. Note: The amount of compression will vary on a number of factors including the original image’s file size and format. You can use a free tool such as Imagify to further compress the file size.

animated file that shrinks in size or export dialog box with compression settings

3. Use the correct file format

There are four major file formats for saving out images and graphics for the web: JPG, PNG, GIF and SVG. Each file format has its benefits, drawbacks and intended use case. Your image or graphic should be saved to a particular format based on if it’s a raster or vector. Raster images are created with pixel-based programs or captured with a camera or scanner. These images have a finite number of pixels and can lose quality when scaled larger. JPG, PNG and GIF are formats best suited for raster images. Vector graphics are created with vector software and can be infinitely sized without losing quality. SVG and GIF are best suited for vector images, while you can also save a vector graphic as a JPG or …read more

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