Animated GIFs are a little piece of magic in a technical world. When I started learning the art of graphic design, I was eager to absorb every detail about file formats. File specs are an ever evolving realm and I wanted to know the advantage/disadvantages of each. There was always an outlier in my calculus though and that's animated GIFs. As mobile devices grew bandwidth the case for raster images became harder to make. Images became more detail and vector images supplanted the previous standards. After the "geocities era" there wasn't much use for animated Gifs in web design, but the format never died. Instead they found a new home on Tumblr and other microblogging sites. Meme lords embraced the loopability and the animated gif found new life.

Some of My Favorite Animated Gifs

I scoured my backup drives and collected all my favorite animated gifs below. Updates may be periodic, but I'll also do what I can to keep this list updated.

Do Animated Gifs Have a Future in Design?

The nerd in me would claim GIFs are obsolete. The file-size ratio has always been the upside, but the lack of fedelity is too large of a hurdle in modern design. Gifs may be heading down the same path as the Png, but I wouldn't be so quick to count them out. Some web standards become so beloved that they overshoot their useful shelf-life. It's easy to view them as rotating low quality images, but in many ways they were the first short form video. Would TikTok or Instagram exist without animated Gifs? It's impossible to tell, but the similarities are clear. It could be nostalgia or novelty, but animated Gifs remain socially relevant to this day... and that's remarkable for such a fast moving field.

It may sound like an over-dramatization, but animated GIFs are an underdog story. In a technical field, this file spec is proof that performing one function well will keep you in demand. For a file type that should have died over a decade ago, it's fun to see where they spring up and I can't help but root for them.

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