The creative issue

THE WAIT. IS FINALLY. OVER.

This issue was released a bit late, but on balance this is absolutely the single biggest release of content I’ve done in one go so I’m hoping you feel like it was worth the wait.

First, in utter commitment to my refusal to refer to this as a blog and instead insisting on calling it a web-based magazine – I’ve grouped all previous content into issues, AND EVEN went ahead and made an Issue Archive so you can find them all more easily.

Now it looks like this was my plan all along and not like I’m totally making this all up as I go along because ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

Second, Inkbike is now on Instagram (woo), and boy if you want to see a picture of me sat on a desk I’ve dragged into the middle of a Sainsbury’s then you’re in luck.

Go ahead and give it a follow to get more content in between issues – I spend a lot of time trying taking creative pics so you regret the decision to follow my page as little as possible. 

Plus you’ll have the pleasure of knowing that every new follow to the page gives me a shot of dopamine that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside – so there’s that too. 


This issue was written for budding creatives that are looking to branch out and start seeking professional work. The articles were written to give you everything you need from inspiration (the interviews) to practical guides for every step of the process.

It’s my hope that this issue contains everything a creative would need to start making money from their craft.

But enough talk, let’s get to reading:

Bethany Thielen: THIS is how you job hunt

Matt Saunders: From street art to Pottermore; making it as an illustrator


Inkbike’s guide to getting your first client

How to nail the first client meetingH

The Nina4airbnb case study

How I failed my first attempt to collaborate with a business owner

Further reading


If you enjoyed this issue and want to read more of them then why not sign up to get my latest posts delivered straight to your inbox? Just type your email into the box at the bottom of the page.

I post content new issues once every sometimes, so adding your email means that you’re being both super supportive (yay!) and avoiding the need to check the website for new content.

How to start finding work as a creative

At a glance

Research small businesses in your area

Work on your pitch for small business owners to make sure that your work gets noticed by people who have the authority to approve a freelancer. The more people in a business, the more likely that your pitch gets lost somewhere between the person who reads your email and the person who can authorise your work.

Demonstrate value

When you pitch, don’t just tell them how your work can benefit them, demonstrate it. That means creating something high quality that they can use without having to spend first. This will make you stand out from your competitors.

Meet face-to-face

A cold-calling email is easy to ignore, but someone standing at your desk is much harder to dismiss without at least hearing them out. Get out from your desk and meet people.

Rinse and repeat

Keep following these steps and you WILL land a client – either through word of mouth or directly through one of your pitches. Someone that offers quality work and spends time to build rapports is impossible to ignore for too long.

Let me try starting this article by walking you through a train of thought that has REGULARLY stopped me from moving on from jobs I’ve hated into my dream of freelancing in an industry I find much more appealing.

If you can relate to anything in this next section, then this article is for you. Here goes:

If you’re reading this, then chances are that at some point you’ve been sat at work and thought “screw-diddly-ew this job, I’d so much rather be doing X”.

Then you picture yourself doing X, and you see yourself working confidently on some epic client project, in an industry that has plenty of room for you to grow in. 

That image is great.

Since there are few things that can kill a passion for a subject faster than formal education, X is most definitely not something you studied or have any experience in.

So what tends to immediately follow that thought, is the crippling realisation that if someone were to right now put that client project you’d been visualising on your desk and tell you to crack on, you’d have no idea what to do next.

Uh oh header

That doesn’t quite add up….because you looked confident while you were picturing yourself doing that new work. The kind of confidence that comes from knowing exactly what you’re doing and that what you’re doing is exactly right.

I mean, who realistically daydreams about themselves as they’re JUST starting out in a new job?

You know the drill, where you don’t know what the hell you’re doing and are desperately pretending to look productive in front of your new manager but have no work so you’re just marathoning through random folders in your yet-to-be-filled inbox to simulate productivity.

So then the kind of confidence you pictured at first can only come from having built up a body of experience doing many similar projects beforehand, and there’s no shortcut around that.

If you’re like me, then this makes you feel anxious, and that anxiety is enough to make you resigned to put down your head and get back to working on that job that you decided to screw-diddly-ew in the first place. 

F*ck. That.

The job you can barely stand can wait. We are going to fix that anxiety right here and now, because I’m going to give you a breakdown of exactly what steps you need to follow to build that experience.

First we need to recognise that your anxiety is coming from the fact that you probably don’t know how to get from here* to there**.


Inkbike‘ s contextual dictionary

here

adverb

adverb: here

  1. In, at, or to this place or position
      • Used to describe a time in your life and career whereby you lack the experience or confidence to tackle a project or piece of work in your ultimate career fantasy with a sense of certitude that you know exactly what you are doing throughout (thus leaving you in a position to marvel at your own brilliance and the enjoy the feeling that you are a brilliant part of a brilliant industry that is lucky to have you).

there

adverb

adverb: there

  1. Used to gesture to a place or to an intended point (in time and in your career)
      • The description of a time in your life and career whereby you have the experience, confidence and expertise to be an absolute legend in the field you want to work on.

        You’re about to win awards for your work on this project, and then you’re going to take that award and slap your current manager with it because you’re an absolute unit.

Here’s how you’re going to do it:

What you’re looking for first is businesses where the owner or a senior manager is based on the premises – this is to ensure that when you pitch to them your services, they are able to make a decision themselves rather than have to seek approval from someone else. 

For your first clients, it’s important to avoid looking into business that own multiple premises (especially where they are across multiple cities) – pitching to a larger business presents a bigger challenge, especially when you are just starting out.

When you’ve found a business that looks to be the right size, you’re going to start researching their brand. As part of this, you’ll investigate the following:

  • Their social media platforms
  • Their website
  • Any printed materials they might have on premises (if you are able to access their premises) i.e. for a restaurants or cafe look at their menus, any flyers or posters they have on display

What you’re looking to understand is whether the business has an established tone of voice, visual style and most importantly, whether it looks like an experienced creative has been anywhere near their brand.

If after all of your step 1 research, you feel confident that you are able to create something that the client will love and is either on par pr better than the creative materials they already have then you’re going to design something quality to give to the owner of that business for free.

No matter what your creative discipline, make something for them;

  • If you’re confident in web-design and you feel that your would-be-client could benefit then create for them a holding page.
  • If you’re an illustrator then draw them a poster.
  • If you’re more about social media, head over to Canva and create some graphics which would look like fancy new furniture in their Instagram profile house.
  • Videographer or animator? Make them a 1-minute reel for their social media.

You get the idea. 

The point is, in the beginning you might not have a massive portfolio to show them, or be able to get your name out there through word-of-mouth, so you have to make something quality for them to build their confidence that you can provide value to them and their business.

So create something for them like you’re being paid £1,000 to do it – aim to create the absolute best thing that you possibly can.

Business owners are used to being pitched at all the time by people who think that sending automated or templated messages offering the same deals (think of every 30 day trial you’ve ever read about) is the best way to land new business. 

By including in your initial ‘pitch’ something which is entirely bespoke, quality and free for them to use without any strings attached you are immediately setting yourself apart from the usual noise – you’re letting them know that you’re something different and that’s going to make them take notice.

If you’re like any of the number of people I’ve spoken to about this during the time I’m writing this, your first thought is “great idea genius (I choose not to read this as sarcasm by the way), but what if after all that time I’ve spent crafting the Michael Angelo of whateverImades that I don’t end up with anything? What if they don’t even respond to me?”

I’m not going to lie to you – that’s a very real possibility. Business owners are busy and so they might forget, not have time to or just not be inclined to get back to you. Your question becomes, what can you do to retain the maximum amount of value from this time.

First thing your going to do is add your finished piece to your portfolio, or let it be the first item in a brand-spanking-new one. 

The second thing you’re going to do is factor this idea into your initial contact…we’ll get to that in one second.

Do what your competitors won’t.

Your average competitor will send an email to someone they want to work with/for and let that be the end of it. Your less commonly courageous competitor might even be willing to pick up the phone.

What 99% of your competition isn’t willing to do is head down to speak to the client they want face to face because that takes time and effort and they can’t be bothered to put in either.

The reason why you’ll do it is because speaking directly to someone you want as a client is brilliant experience, and because speaking face to face makes building a rapport much easier.

Still not convinced or feeling like you’re too shy to do anything other than email? Let me put this another way.

Just think about that WhatsApp group chat on your phone with 83 unread messages in it. I mean, those are message you’ve ignored from people you actually know, consider how many fewer f*cks you’d give about reading and responding to those messages if they were from people you’d never even heard of.

Just imagine that the business owner you’re contacting has likely got 83 messages from people they’d never heard of trying to sell them something (because they likely have that many or more), and that by sending an email, your message is just another message amongst the noise regardless of how much value you actually offer.

Get it? Great! Back to rapport…

That rapport, combined with that piece of excellent work you’ve created for them is the reason why they’re going to choose you for their creative project.

What’s also important to remember is that you’re not going down to sell them something –  nobody wants to be hunted down in their workplace to be pitched at. That’d be about as welcome as a Greenpeace street fundraiser walking into your living room unannounced and yelling their pitch at you while you’re trying to watch Netflix.

Instead what you’re going to tell them is that you were researching local businesses and you loved their brand, you think what they are doing is excellent or that you wanted to support a local business. 

Whichever way, you made something for them to have for free to use on their social media/website/on display in their premises because you wanted to support them and because you are trying to build up a portfolio of work for use in your own efforts to find your feet as a freelance creative.

You’ll reiterate that you aren’t looking for any money, but if they do end up using what you made, you’d appreciate it if you could reference them in your portfolio and include the piece you made for them.

That’s it. When you’ve finished explaining who you are, why you’re in their building and what you’re hoping to get out of it you’ll thank them for their time and you’ll leave.

No-one likes a pushy sales person – especially one that’s come unannounced. Also, if you’re new to this sort of hustle then chances are being self-promotional isn’t going to come naturally to you so don’t feel the need to risk all your hard work by throwing yourself in the deep end. 

Be brave enough not to give a pitch, trust that they will see value in you and the work you’ve created.

Do what your competitors won’t.

If you follow these steps and you keep going after your first pitch – I guarantee you, you will land your first client. 

It might not be the first person you create something for, or the second or the third, but if you follow these steps you will eventually land one who’s willing to pay you to create something more for them – either directly or through word of mouth.

After all that hard work, it feels like landing your first client is job done, mission accomplished; time to relax and marvel at the fruits of your hard labour.

Trust me on this one, after about one evening of celebration, the feeling is quickly replaced by a panic that you don’t know what’s supposed to happen next. 

You have the feeling that you should be leading things in this client/creative relationship since you were the one that headed out and brokered this thing in the first place.

Having gone through this process myself both as the hired creative and more recently as the customer – I’ve created templates which you can use to structure your initial meeting as well as present your work. 

Check them out here.


If you enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to get my latest posts delivered straight to your inbox? Just type your email into the box at the bottom of the page .

I post content new issues once every sometimes, so adding your email means that you’re being both super supportive (yay!) and avoiding the need to check the website for new content.

Fin.

My failed first attempt to collaborate with a business owner

FourThings was an idea I had last year for approaching new businesses that I wanted to collaborate with in some way. I wanted to be able to initiate contact with business owners in a way that offered them immediate value while demonstrating competence.

I hoped to stand out by reaching out that way and give the business owner a reason to either get back in touch or think of me in the future when future opportunities to collaborate popped up.

The idea

I started FourThings because I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do with Inkbike yet. I knew I wanted to work with other business owners in some way for personal and professional development, but I honestly didn’t (still don’t) have a clue what service I could offer – free or otherwise.

I came to the realisation that I should just treat collaborative work like I would my day job: if my manager gave me a type of project that I had no experience of working on before, I would just go away and try to figure something out.

Everyone has to start somewhere and there’s not much you can’t figure out on Google right?

Right.

So I decided I would investigate small businesses I wanted to work with, figure out what they were doing, and try to think of realistic ways they could expand their operation in some way.

These would become projects that I would outline, put into a document and send over in my opening email to a business owner. I knew I didn’t want to spend forever doing this for each business, so I decided to limit myself to four projects.

F-four…things – geddit..?

I hoped that by making four projects, I had four chances to come up with something that the business owner might like.

The ideal outcome would that they liked one of the projects, turn around to say;

Inkbike-person, you’re a brilliant curly-haired genius and I love your idea.

I think it could be great for my business but I don’t have the time at the moment to bring it to life – would it be something that you’d be interested in doing for me?

Imagine. the. scenes.


To achieve the desired effect, I wanted to focus on providing the business owner with value (while actively demonstrating the value I could provide), which meant creating something that went one step further than just pitching basic ideas.

I wanted to give a full break-down of what it would take to roll out the idea, costs and all, so they would have a step-by-step guide if they wanted to go ahead with it.

I thought it was a pretty good idea for being proactive about my development and was super excited.

Plan sorted, I went to work.

Execution headerThe company I decided to focus my efforts on was Cha Lounge. It’s a place I love (in case you didn’t already get that impression from the interview), have spent enough time in to have done some indirect research and I felt Mandeep (the owner) would be open to new ideas.

The four ideas I came up with were (*ahem*); Cha Spice, Cha Pots, Cha Classses and Cha Social. You can check them out in the way I presented them below or download a copy of the document by clicking on this link.



First page of the finished Four Things document

Second page of the finished Four Things document

Third page of the finished Four Things document

Fourth page of the finished Four Things document

Fifth page of the finished Four Things document

In the end I think I spent about a month chipping away at this. It worked out as a couple of hours here or there when I found the time in my evenings and weekends. I was pretty proud of how it came together!

Each point was made based on research that (I hoped) was detailed enough to be actionable while being low-risk financially.

Thinking it looked ready, I typed up an introductory email and sent it on over to Cha Lounge.

How I failed

Months passed and I didn’t hear back.

I started to get really paranoid that I might have accidentally over-stepped a boundary by mistake and offended the recipients somehow or that my ideas were so fantastically bad that Mandeep felt too uncomfortable to get back in touch.

In reality, Mandeep enjoyed the document but was busy running a new, growing business and so never found the time to reply.

Ultimately, the projects didn’t end up getting off the ground (although I did end up collaborating with Mandeep on other things), but that wasn’t why I considered my first collaboration attempt a failure.

The reason is because I was put off – I never made another copy of FourThings for other businesses I wanted to collaborate with.ConclusionsI maintain that FourThings was a decent first idea for approaching a new business. It forced me to creatively think in a way that I enjoyed and was a useful exercise  considering my interest in creating/managing something myself.

So it was absolutely no good that I allowed myself to be put off from doing it again just because I didn’t get a pat on the back as quickly as I wanted to.

Realistically, small business owners are likely to be stretched thin for time and won’t always have the time to get back in touch. Or honestly, they just might not like the ideas I pitch in the first place, but that doesn’t mean that no-one ever will or that I should’ve stopped trying.

I’ll finish by being objective and talking about this as if someone else had done it. The worst case scenario is that no-one ever replies, creating several of these would’ve still built up a kick-ass portfolio which for use in job interviews to demonstrate proactivity, research skills, creative design and more.

Even better, you might end up researching an idea that could end up being a business in it’s own right!

The moral of the story, don’t do a me. If you have an idea, don’t be put off by the first set back. Learn from it and keep working.

After all, good things happen to those who hustle (at least according to their Instagram feeds).



If you enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to get my latest posts delivered straight to your inbox?

I post content new issues once every sometimes so adding your email means that you’re being both super supportive (yay!) and avoiding the need to check the website for new content.

Just type your email into the box at the bottom of the page and the job’s a good’un!

Fin.

Further reading

So you finished reading, but let me guess, you have an insatiable thirst for knowledge that hasn’t quite been quenched by this latest, greatest issue of Inkbike.

S’cool fair reader, I’m not offended – in fact, I’ve got some recommendations for you!

Also ironically given the title, there is actually no reading required in any of the below since they’re all videos and podcasts…enjoy!

Tips for creating arresting visual content

This video is unbelievably awesome – every one of their tips can be done by anyone with a camera.

They’ve also just put it together in such a way that you can watch the video once and easily feel like you could go out and recreate any of their tips with little practice.

DEFINITELY give this a watch.

For anyone starting out as a freelance photographer or videographer

This video gives some great tips, and I watched this to help me put together

About turning no money into plenty

The whole 5 video series is well worth a watch for inspiration, if anything just to show you how might be able to make money without having to spend loads on any initial investment.

About making money from money

Another five video series that’s well worth a watch for inspiration; although as the name suggests, this one is suited to people who have a little bit more of an initial investment that they can use.

A podcast for anyone that wants to start a thing but has trouble keeping it up

Claire Tonti, founder of the largest podcast network in Australia discusses starting projects with inspiring, but more importantly relatable people. She then unabashedly focuses on her inability to keep working on her ideas after starting them, something that I know I personally relate to 100%.

The biggest strength of the podcast is in it’s honesty, Claire often seems like she’s laying all of her cards out on the table for listeners to learn from and in an era of us all putting out our highly polished instagram-selves online, this honesty is incredibly refreshing.

Click on the picture to listen to Just Make the thing’s entire backlog.



And those are the best things I’ve found in the last few months, I hope you enjoy! If you have any other suggestions for things that would absolutely make your ‘Further reading’ list then comment them below!

I’m always on the look out and will 100% be reading/watching/listening to anything you link to!

Image optimisation: What you need to know to get the best out of your pictures

At a glance

The difference between Raster and Vector file types

When it comes to graphic design in any way, shape or form, the most important basic to learn is the difference between these two file types and knowing when to use them. Use Vector images to create clean work with perfect lines and precision, and raster images for photos, digital sketching or paintwork.


Lossy and Lossless Compression

Super important to know when it comes to maintaining the quality of an original image – make sure you understand which image file types use which type of compression and the impact that’ll have for storage, image quality and online experience.


The Basics of Resolution

Ever been unsure of what is actually meant by resolution and the role of pixels? Me too.

All you really need to know is that you measure your workspace in pixels and the size of your workspace is super important in terms of working with and exporting raster images.

Let me preface this article by saying, this is incredibly useful information to have as a foundation if you’re looking to work with visual content professionally.

HOWEVER, this is not a casual read and you WILL need caffeine to power through.

I attended a 4-hour course to learn all of the below and I found it so useful. Before hand, I never paid much attention to what file type I saved my photos or digital artwork under but now I realise exactly what an impact they can make.

You can honestly irreversibly ruin your artwork if you’re not careful.

For me the value of this information is in being able to demonstrate experties when working with clients, because if you produce content for them then they WILL expect you to know this stuff.

Being able to demonstrate specialist knowledge builds client confidence in you as a professional – something which is well worth a 15-minute read.

Let’s start off by explaining the three core digital image types: ‘Raster’, ‘Vector’ and ‘Metafile’ file formatsRasterRaster files store visual data as a series of pixel quantities and approximate locations.

No doubt that if you’ve spent time using any dedicated graphics software for anything from light photo-editing to digital painting, you’ll have worked with Raster image files.

In a raster file, the computer looks at the image and says ‘ok, that colour goes there and this colour goes here…’ many times over until each of those colour dots together form an image.

Because the information is stored like this, a raster image will look the most clear at the resolution that the image was originally created at.

What I mean by original resolution is the size of the original work space that the image was created on, which is measured in pixels.

So if the original workspace for the image was 1800 (pixels in length) x 1200 (pixels in height) when it was created; when you export/save that image as a Raster file, your computer knows exactly where every single pixel/colour lives in that exact space.

But then say after that you want to make that same image appear full sized on a workspace which is 3840 × 2160.

In this workspace you have a greater density of pixels to work with and using the raster file, your computer doesn’t have any other information to fill in those extra pixel spaces.

This means that the image looks a lot more washed out just because there are gaps or blank spaces in between each of the coloured pixels that are displaying colours.

This is something we’ve all seen before, but the same effect is demonstrated in the below image to make sure we’re still all on the same page.

raster-image-high-low-resolutions

Examples of images file types which store data as Raster information are things like;

    JPEG,
    PNG, and
    GIF.

The kinds of programs you’ll be familiar with which work with Raster data are things like Paint, Photoshop and Lightroom among many, many others.Vector headerVector images are visual data files which are saved as a series of ‘intelligent’ instructions.

By instructions I mean like the lines and shapes in your image are stored by your computer as mathematically graphed equations.

For example, a circle drawn in a vector file is not thought of as a circle by your computer, but rather it’s 2πr2 saved on a set of definite co-ordinates on a x-axis and y-axis in the workspace.

You can actually see this if you open a vector file in a text program like Notepad rather than an image program. Doing so would open the file, but instead of showing a picture, you’d see a list of instructions.

This is all probably going to sound incredibly confusing if you’ve never actually worked with a vector drawing tool before (or even if you have – I had to re-read my notes like 4 times to make sure I was clear enough to be able to write this section) but don’t worry, you don’t need to understand exactly what’s going on in the background for this to be useful for you.

All this means is that because Vector images are stored as a set of instructions and not pixel information, you can make a vector image extremely large or small with no loss of quality or sharpness.

This is because no matter what the resolution or pixel density,  your computer knows exactly where it needs to fill in pixel spaces because it has a set of instructions to follow. Pretty swish.

Examples of software which use Vector imaging include Adobe Illustrator, Coral DRAW and Inkscape. Common Vector image file types are AI, CDR and EPS.

Still with me?

Metafile header

Metafiles are files of data which save multiple types of data in one file i.e. both vector and raster information in a single file.

We didn’t cover this too much in the course but some quick research suggests that this file format isn’t particularly stable and can be prone to errors.

Converting Image File Types


So those are the three main types of image files.

Another important thing to know is that data stored under one of these file formats can be transformed into another file type.

So if you get a vector file but want to save it as a raster because you want to edit that image using a certain type of software, or upload it to a website, you can do.

The only thing you have to remember is that the data you’ve changed will start functioning under the rules of the new file type.

So for example, if you convert a vector file to a raster image then you’ll no longer be able to make that image bigger without loss of image quality.

Converting images from Vector to Raster files is much easier to do with minimal loss of information, whereas converting Raster to Vector files can be slightly more difficult.

Doing so incorporates a process known as ‘Image Tracing’, I would be lying if I said I could explain this properly and in all honesty would just be paraphrasing the Wiki article on it.

Instead of doing that, I’ll just link the article here if you want to learn more about how it’s done.

Now that’s a good foundation of information to build on, but the bit that’s probably useful for you to know is the different sub-file types and how using these can impact your work.

File Compression Types


When you are working from your core image and you save to another format, there are two types of compression to bear in mind when deciding what format to save your image as;lossy and lossless.jpeg

Lossy | This format compresses a file size through dumping information which it considers unnecessary.

An example of this type of file is a JPEG – each time you save something as a JPEG, you lose more and more information. You can pretty much make an image unrecognisable by doing this repeatedly.

Lossless | This format compresses a file size without losing information (i.e. quality isn’t compromised).

An example of this type of file is ZIP.

If you ever aren’t sure, or just want to keep up with a best practice approach, you should always keep a high quality original source file at your disposal.

If you ever compromise the quality of your image by mistake, doing this means you have a backup.

Another rule of thumb is to work from the programs source file type until you have completed your work on your image, only after you’ve finished should you start saving your image through compressed mediums.

Different types of image files


JPEG headerA JPEG (or Joint Photographic Experts Group, if you were curious) is likely the most widely known image file type.

As previously mentioned, JPEG uses a lossy compression algorithm which means that it will remove data from a file in order to compress it to a more manageable size.

JPEG files achieve a smaller file size by compressing the image in a way that retains detail which matters most, while discarding details deemed to be less visually impactful.

Because of this, JPEGs are the most common file types for displaying visuals on the internet – since pictures can be compressed to a fraction of their original ‘full’ size with little obvious change made to the quality of the picture. Smaller image sizes displayed on a webpage mean that they load faster on a browser when a visitor heads to your website.

JPEG files are able to store and manage up to 7.2 million different colours making them extremely proficient at displaying visual information with great quality.

However, they are generally much better suited to displaying photographs rather than painted images.

The reason for this is because photographs more typically have smoother transitions between colours.

In painted, sketched or line images, there are more likely to be sharp contrasts in colour between adjacent pixels, and these stark variations would become subject to a more pronounced loss in quality after JPEG compression takes place.PNG HeaderThis is an updated image file type of the GIF and was created as a solution to the limited 256-only colour palette of the GIF file.

In the mid-90’s, monitors that were able to display many, many more different colours simultaneously become much more common and so a new file-type solution was required.

The most notable difference between PNG and GIF files is the inclusion of Truecolour colour palettes which make PNG files much more suitable for displaying more complex visual information.

Another significant difference is that rather than being a lossy file type, PNG is a lossless file which means that no data is lost when you save an image as a PNG file.

Comparing PNG with JEPG


JPEG format can produce a smaller file than PNG for photographic (and photo-like) images, since JPEG uses a lossy encoding method specifically designed for photographic image data (which is typically characterised by soft, low-contrast transitions).

Using PNG instead of a high-quality JPEG for such images would result in a large increase in filesize with negligible gains in quality.

In comparison, when storing images that contain text, line art, or graphics – images with sharp transitions and large areas of solid color – the PNG format can compress image data more than a JPEG can.

Additionally, PNG is lossless, while JPEG produces noticeable losses in clarity around high-contrast areas.

So where an image contains both sharp transitions and photographic parts, it can be a little tricky to decide which file type to go for.

If you’re struggling to choose, best practice would be to try saving your image to both and take a look at;

  • Image quality around areas where colour changes sharply,
  • The size of the resulting file.

Another factor to consider in this scenario should be JPEG’s lossy compression which also suffers from generation loss.

This is where repeatedly decoding and re-encoding an image to save it again means that information is lost each time, which means that the image loses quality.

Generational loss doesn’t happen with repeated viewing, copying of an image or anything like that, it’s only where the file is edited and saved over again (and again).

PNG has the benefit of being lossless, making it more suitable for saving images which might need further editing later on without compromising the quality of the image.

There is also the option that an image can be stored losslessly and converted to JPEG format later if only for distribution, so that there is no generation loss.GIF HeaderNot typically as popular today in the same way as in the past for displaying still images because of the limited colour palette of the file type – 256 colours in a single image only compared with 7.2 million colours in a JPEG file.

The reason for this is that when GIFs were first created in the 80’s, it didn’t seem relevant to include more colours since monitors which could display more than that many colours at the same time were not affordable for most people.

Image types which are better suited for GIF formatting are those with big blocks of same-type colours i.e. things like diagrams, icons on websites like share buttons or simple logos but not photographs or any other colour-heavy images.

Images which contain fuller colour palettes (i.e. more than 256 unique colours), when saved as GIF files, result in blotchier images. The reason for this is because GIF files have to compensate additional colours by adjusting them to a closest approximate colour within an image to be compatible.

The way compression works functionally with GIF files is that the lower the number of different colours used, the smaller the size of the file after compression.

The benefit of this is that simple images like a Facebook share button with like 3 colours on it can be tiny and downloaded RAPIDLY by a browser.

GIF files also utilise interlacing techniques when uploaded on to a website. What this means is that images load progressively on a webpage rather than all at once.

So basically, on a slow loading website, an image will start out as blurry and then grows sharper as more data loads rather than not appearing at all until the image is fully loaded.

The reason for this is that this was a more popular file type to upload on earlier iterations of the internet and this feature was more useful on slower browsers – but as browsers have grown more proficient and advanced, they are able to cope with larger and more complicated image sizes.TIFF HeaderListen, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I fully understand this one and honestly if anyone reads this article and fancies commenting to let me know what the deal is with TIFF files in plainer English than I’ve found online then please PLEASE do.

From what I understand, this file type has a size restriction of 4GB. It supports true colour images (i.e. it can handle information on 56M different types of images) making it brilliant for colour-rich images and is typically much, much bigger than standard JPEG images due to the amount of information which can be stored inside it.

This also means that it can contain extremely high quality images which, combined with it being lossless makes it the ideal home for ongoing design projects where you’ll need to keep editing and saving your work.

Things to bear in mind though;

  • These files can get to be 100MB+ in size fairly easily so you might need to consider storage if you have multiple images you’re working on at a time.
  • Because these are so big, you’ll need to consider how you’ll share these images if that’s your intention. Because of the size, you can’t just chuck a TIFF file on an email because it might be too big, likewise, images that get to that size can’t readily be uploaded onto a website since that would cause the page to load incredibly, in-cred-ib-ly sl-ow-ly.

As with the PNG file though, you can always have your original image saved as a TIFF file before saving a copy as a JPEG or PNG to distribute out further – options!SVG Header.jpegCredit to www.lifewire.com for their brilliant article on all of this.

A file with the SVG file extension is a Scalable Vector Graphics file and being such, an SVG file can be scaled to different sizes without losing quality. A lot of website graphics are built in the SVG format, so they can be resized to fit different designs later on, making them more sustainable.

SVG extensions also use lossless compression meaning that information isn’t lost when you save an image as an SVG. If an SVG file is compressed with GZIP compression, the new file will end with an .SVGZ file extension and can be anywhere between 50% and 80% smaller in size.

How to Open an SVG File


The easiest and quickest way to open an SVG file to view it (not to edit it) with a modern web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Internet Explorer – nearly all of them should provide some sort of rendering support for the SVG format.

This means you can open online SVG files without having to download them first.

If you do already have an SVG file on your computer, the web browser can also be used as an offline SVG viewer. Open those SVG files through the web browser’s Open option (the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut).

SVG files can be created through Adobe Illustrator, so you can of course use that program to open the file. Other premium design software which can support SVG files are Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, InDesign, Adobe Animate, Microsoft Visio, CorelDRAW, Corel PaintShop Pro, and CADSoftTools ABViewer.

If you are looking for free software which can be used with SVG file extentions, check out Inkscape and GIMP, but you must download them in order to open the SVG file. Picozu is also free and supports the SVG format too, but you can open the file online without downloading anything.

How to Convert an SVG File


If you want to convert an SVG file into a Raster image, deciding how to go about should depend on the size of the original file.

If your SVG file is pretty small, you can convert it to a Raster file type quite easily online using websites like Zamzar (looks a bit spammy but works brilliantly). They can convert .SVG files to PNG, PDF, TIFF, GIF, JPEG and more so it’s brilliant – even better it works without you having to download any apps to your PC, it can either email converted images to your inbox or let you download them straight from the webpage.

On the other hand, if you have a larger SVG file or if you’d rather not use third party websites, most dedicated design software will let you save and convert the file straight on the interface.


So there you have it! Some fun reading for budding young graphic designers – I’ve only covered the basics and there are many, many more file types to look at if you’re hungry for more.

Although honestly, I would just be impressed if someone made it to the end of this article and is actually reading this section….h-hello..? …anyone still there..?


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