Image optimisation is an important aspect of our work. It refers to the process of adapting images so that they are of an optimal size and shape for the purpose they are being used for. There are a variety of different methods – here are some common issues and solutions that we use.
Square Peg Round Hole
Imagine in a document that there is a rectangular space (landscape orientation) and the image you need to use in that space is of a portrait orientation. The image is incompatible with the space. The job of a graphic designer is to solve this problem. One solution might be to expand the image and effectively crop it to suit the new orientation. Your ability to do this may be limited by the size of the image – especially with print media. Alternatively a different layout solution may be negotiated to suit the portrait image. Wrestling with images in this way is a common part of our job.
Image Optimisation For Web
Anytime an image is being used online, it becomes a downloadable resource – to see the image, users must download the image (this is done automatically when you look at a web-page). Larger images download slowly, or not at all. Because the goal of any webpage is to load as quickly as possible (for SEO and UX benefits) images must be no larger than necessary for their optimal presentation in a given space. This means that images must be optimised, and reduced in data size so they’re carrying no extra weight.
While images can be scaled down, making them larger can be challenging. (This applies to Raster / Pixel images). To expand an image to a larger size, a point will be reached when the detail of the image starts to be compromised. Working with images that have already been optimised for the web means that as soon as expansion begins, quality loss is visible. The ability to expand images may require a creative solution or compromise in the way that the image is to be used.