“GIF” The word of the year. Oxford Dictionary.
by Mitchell Eismont
Most graphic designers and web designers use GIFs in their everyday life. People that don’t deal with graphics may not understand what a GIF is. Recently Oxford dictionary announced “gif” and “omnishambles as their words of the year. To me .gif was always an acronym, so I am unsure why it is actually a word. GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format and is commonly used in web design. A .gif is a compressed image format, basically it takes the binary code and shrinks it down. When you create a .gif you lose some of the information from your photo.
Why make a .gif? Well it is going to have less data, and load on the web a lot faster. A .gif uses mostly web safe colors and index colors, only 256 colors can make up a .gif. The lack of color variation in this file type will also make it have less data.
Back in the 80’s and early 90’s there was battles over who’s file format would be dominant. I am sure you have heard of .jpg and .png, these were also created around the same time as the gif. A gif file uses lossless comprehension, which basically means it tries to not ruin your file when it compresses it.
Anyway that is about all the technical jargon this graphic design can handle for one day.