A Scalable Vector Graphics or SVG is an open standard specification and a vector image file format based on Extensible Markup Language or XML developed by the World Wide Web Consortium for two-dimensional graphics.
The image format has been used on the internet and digital mediums. Note that some websites use the PNG file format while others still use the JPG format. But the features and advantages of SVG have made it another option for displaying graphic images on the web.
The Pros: Advantages of SVG File Format
1. Scalability: For Zooming In, Resizing, and Responsive Web Design
One of the notable advantages of an SVG file is that it does not lose quality when zoomed in or resized in a browser unlike raster image file formats such as PNG and JPG because it is a vector. This file format is also resolution-independent.
Note that other image formats need to be uploaded with a resolution twice its size when viewed in high-resolution display screens such as a Super Retina or Liquid Retina screen. SVG images do not have this requirement because can be resized readily without losing quality.
The aforesaid advantage makes this file format ideal for websites. Furthermore, with the prevalence of responsive web designs that adapt to different devices with different screens sizes, this format is more practical than PNG and JPG.
2. Lightweight: Smaller File Size With Scalability and Good Quality
SVG images also come in smaller file sizes compared with raster image formats. As an example, an equivalent PNG image can be 40 to 50 times larger than an equivalent SVG image. However, note that an equivalent JPG image is smaller.
But the fact that scalability is an advantage of the SVG file format makes it more ideal for the web than PNG and JPG formats. Lightweight images are important in website responsiveness and overall website speed and performance.
3. Flexibility: Works Well With Other Open Standard Languages
It is also important to reiterate the fact that this image file format was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium as an open standard specification. It is primarily introduced for use in websites and other web-based applications.
Note that SVG images can be created and edited directly in a text editor just as a user would create or edit an ordinary text or an HTML file. They can also be created using graphic design applications such as Photoshop, InDesign, GIMP, and Visio, among others.
4. Animation: For Creating Animated and Interactive Contents
Note that image formats such as GIFs usually have low quality and are not interactive. Flash animation is an obsolete standard in web design. The SVG standard supports raster images such as JPG and PNG that can be used to create animated and interactive content.
5. Web-Ready: Modern Support and Search Engine Optimization
Remember that a critical advantage of SVG images is that they are suitable for use in websites and other web-based applications because they are scalable, adaptive to different screen sizes, and have relatively smaller file sizes than raster formats such as PNG.
Furthermore, the fact that designers can create animated and interactive digital content using the SVG standard makes the entire image file format suitable in developing and designing websites and web-based apps based on Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 standards.
Note that this format is also supported by major browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, among others. SVG images are also indexable by search engines and can be used for search engine optimization purposes.
6. Printability: A High-Resolution Digital Image For Printing
SVG images can also be readily printed at any resolution without losses in image quality. Images based on raster formats can also be printed but blowing them up often results in significant quality losses unless they are reproduced at higher resolution.
This advantage makes this image file format suitable for printing websites or particular web content. Furthermore, because of its scalability and smaller file size, it is also an ideal standard for storing digital images in the cloud for printing later on.
The Cons: Disadvantages of SVG File Format
1. Flat: Not A Suitable Image File Format For Detailed Images
One notable disadvantage of the SVG file format is that it is only suitable for certain graphics images such as flat graphics. However, because it is vector-based, it does not work well for images with lots of fine details and textures.
Flat graphics use simpler colors and straightforward shapes. Examples include icons and logos. Some cartoonish images can be considered as flat graphics. Examples of detailed images are photographs such as real-world portraits and landscapes.
The best options for creating detailed and textured images are raster-based formats such as JPG and PNG. The TIFF image format is also another option. Furthermore, raster-based images are also suitable for websites that require photographs as graphics content.
2. Compatibility: Issues Concerning Cross-Platform Compatibility
It is also important to note the fact that compatibility issue remains a problem for the SVG standard. Of course, several web browsers, graphics editors, and viewers have natively support for this standard and image file format.
But it does not work on outdated and legacy browsers such as Internet Explorer 8. Websites containing SVG images would look broken or messy. Note that a sizeable portion of the global population still uses old web browsers installed in old machines.
Note that Photoshop does not natively support SVG because it is a raster graphics editor. The same is true for InDesign. What this means is that users cannot readily open, view, or edit SVG images in raster-based editors and other apps with no native support.