I am a woman of the 90s. Animated GIFs rocked my adolescence and the beginning of the web. I was one of those students who would insert small grotesque animated images in 256 colors in MSN Messenger!
At the time, it was new, innovative, funny, trendy…
But these GIFs ultimately ended up on weird sites without much credibility, and in the end the animated GIF was all but forgotten. The appearance in the early 2000s of beautiful video games and Flash animations put the final nail in the animated GIF’s coffin.
At least that’s what we thought…
Over the last two or three years, animated GIFs have been making a comeback in web design.
Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google, and even the rise of Tumblr, have all yielded to the ease of use of animated GIFs and given in to the simplicity of emoticons to, well, show our emotions.
The pixelated images of the 90s have now given way to a serious competitor to video and flash animation.
As a good alternative to the MAC/PC compatibility problem, especially with smartphones, the animated GIF is the ideal tool for animation and eliminates the frustration of Internet users who must deal with the rigidity of images.
Short, mild and often very funny, the technology has been adopted by users that retrieve cult movie or television passages to create unique avatars that reflect their personalities/profiles.
In often-boring sites, they attract attention, arouse curiosity, catch the eye, and sometimes hypnotize tenfold the impact of an advertising message.
(Source: Reitman newsletter)
As long as they are used in moderation; and are light, elegant, and relevant; they bring real value to a website or a promotional newsletter encouraging action for conversion. Indeed, few newsletters today are sent without images and therefore few newsletters manage to set themselves apart from the lot. The GIF? It helps you stand out from all your competitors in the inbox of your subscribers!
GIF as artistic expression
But artists go further and take advantage of the rise of limitless technology to open up interesting alternatives. Lighter than a video, instant loading, perpetual motion without human interaction, they are used for the presentation of a concept or the animation of an idea in seconds.
(Source: Speedcam application, Jakub Antalík)
They can become works of art.
For example, they give another dimension to photos like Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck and their concept of cinemagraphs…
…create captivating illustrations such as the artist Nicolas Fong…
…or web associate street art and technology as artist INSA.
Forget everything you knew about GIFs. Today, they bring an added dimension of effective communication to your web communications.
Adopt the animated GIF before your competitors do!