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When to Use SVG vs. PNG and What Are the Differences?
07 January, 2023

When to Use SVG vs. PNG and What Are the Differences?

Let's examine SVG vs. PNG and their differences. 

What is an SVG?

An SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) is a vector image file used to display graphics on the Internet. Vector graphics are made up of lines and curves defined by mathematical algorithms, so they can be scaled to any size without losing quality. This makes them an excellent choice for displaying graphics on the web, where the same image may be displayed in various sizes. SVG files are typically smaller in size than other types of image files, such as JPEG or PNG, and they support interactivity and animation. They are also easily editable using text editors, making them famous for web design and development. 
Get more info about SVG Files.

What is a PNG?

A PNG (Portable Network Graphic) is a raster image file used to display a graphic on the Internet. PNG files are typically larger than other image files, such as GIFs or JPEGs. Still, they support lossless compression, which means that the image quality is not compromised when compressed files. Raster images are made up of pixels and can only be scaled to a larger size with losing quality. However, PNG files support transparency and are often used for graphics that require a transparent background, such as logos or icons. They are also often used for images that require a high level of detail, such as photographs.

What is the difference between SVG and PNG?

There are many differences between SVG and PNG.

Image Type.

While SVG is a vector image format, meaning it is composed of shapes and paths. PNG is a raster image format, meaning it is composed of individual pixels. 


SVG images can be scaled to any size without losing quality.PNG images are resolution-dependent, meaning they can only be scaled losing quality. 


Both files are editable. SVG images are resolution-independent and can be easily modified using vector graphics applications. PNG images can be easily adjusted using image editing applications.

File sizes.

SVG images are typically smaller than PNG or JPG images, making them ideal for web use. PNG images are typically larger than SVG or JPG images, making them less ideal for web use. 


Both SVG and PNG can support transparency, but they handle it differently. In an SVG, transparency is defined by the "opacity" attribute, which specifies how opaque each part of the graphic is. This attribute can be set on individual elements within the SVG, so different parts of the graphic can have different levels of transparency.

In a PNG, transparency is defined using an alpha channel, an additional piece of data in the image file that specifies how transparent each pixel is. This allows for smooth transitions between transparent and opaque areas of the image. One advantage of PNG transparency is that it can support partial transparency, also known as alpha blending, which allows an image to be blended over others using anti-aliasing of the alpha channel. This can create a more natural, gradient-like transition between transparent and opaque picture areas.

DIY Cutting Projects.

SVG is the preferred format for DIY cutting projects with Cricut, Silhouette, or any cutting machines since it is a vector-based format, meaning it can be scaled up or down without losing quality. PNG is a raster-based format, meaning it comprises pixels and will become blurry when scaled up. Details about why SVG Cut Files for cutting machines.

How to convert raster images to SVG?

Converting a raster image to a vector image is a process known as vectorizing. Vector images are mathematically-defined shapes, whereas raster images are composed of pixels. The main advantage of vector images over raster images is that you can scale them to any size without losing image quality. 
There are several ways to convert a raster image to a vector one. The most common way is to use vectorizing software. There are both free and paid-to vectorize software tools available. The most popular tools are Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. These tools allow you to manually trace the image or use the auto-trace feature to convert the image to a vector quickly. 
Another way to convert a raster image to a vector image is to use an online vectorizer. There are a few different websites that offer this service. The process is usually automated, so you don't need to trace the image manually. The downside is that the quality of the vector image may be better than if you had used vectorizing software.

How to convert PNG to SVG?

There are a few different ways to convert a PNG image to an SVG image:
Using a free online converter: Several websites allow you to upload a PNG file and download the resulting SVG file.
Using desktop software: Several desktop software programs can convert PNG to SVG, such as Inkscape (which is free) or Adobe Illustrator (which is not free).
With Adobe Illustrator;
Follow these simple steps to convert a raster image file, such as a JPEG or PNG, to a vector-based SVG:
1. Start Adobe Illustrator and select your image from your PC by clicking File> Open.
2. Click the Open button and select Image Trace from the Trace option in the top menu.
3. Adjust the conversion to your preferences, which may involve changing the coloring.
4. Choose your trace image and click ungroup when the operation is finished. This will divide your colored shapes.
5. Choose File> Export and Save your document as an SVG.
With Inscape;
1. Open Inkscape and click "File" in the top left corner of the window.  
2. Select "Open" and locate your PNG file.  
3. Once the File is open, click the image from the top "Path" >"Trace Bitmap." 
4. Adjust settings for the tracing process. 
5. "File" again and select "Save As, " and select "Plain SVG" from the drop-down list of file formats on the right side of the window. 
6. Click "Save" to save the File as an SVG.

Which is better, PNG or SVG?

They are used for different purposes and have some key differences. Here are some points to consider when deciding which format is best for you:


SVG is smaller than PNG files, especially for images containing text or simple shapes.


Because SVG is a vector format, it can be scaled to any size without losing quality, while PNG is a raster format and will lose quality if it is scaled too large. This makes SVG a better choice for logos, icons, and other images that need to be resized frequently.


PNG and SVG support transparency, but PNG is generally better for images requiring partial transparency, such as images with anti-aliasing around the edges. On the other hand, SVG is better for images that require a single color to be transparent, such as logos with a solid background color.


PNG is a more widely supported format and is generally supported by all web browsers, whereas SVG support is not as universal. However, most modern browsers do support SVG, and support is constantly improving.

In general, SVG is a better choice for images that will be used on the web, while PNG is a better choice for images that will be used in print or for images that require high-quality transparency.

FAQ for SVG vs. PNG 

Which vector file is best for printing?

Vector files are generally the best choice for printing because they are made up of lines and curves rather than pixels, so they can be scaled to any size without losing quality. The most common vector file formats for printing are PDFs for scaling SVG and AI.

PNG vs. SVG for print?

PNG is generally better for print as it is a raster image type composed of pixels. SVG is a vector image type composed of shapes, so it is better suited for on-screen use.

Is PNG good for Cricut?  

Yes, PNG is a great file format for Cricut design projects because it's a lossless file format, meaning that it doesn't lose any data when it is compressed. This makes it perfect for creating high-quality design projects that can be reproduced accurately and consistently.

Is PNG or SVG better for Cricut?  

SVG files are the best for use with Cricut machines. SVG files have a smaller file size and are easier for Cricut to interpret than PNG files.

Which is for sublimation, PNG vs. SVG?  

PNG is a raster file format, while SVG is a vector file format. Both formats can be used for sublimation, although they are better suited to different purposes. 
PNGs are best for full-color imagery and designs, as they support a wide range of colors and can display high-resolution images. SVG files, on the other hand, are better for line art and text, as they can be scaled infinitely without losing image quality.

Is an SVG file the same as a PNG file?

No, an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file is not the same as a PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file. As mentioned above, SVG files are vector-based and scalable, while PNG files are raster-based and have a fixed resolution.

Thanks for visiting and reading. If you have any questions, let us know!


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