When you are designing images for the web, it is important to understand the difference between a PNG file and a Transparent PNG file. They look very similar in some cases but have different properties.

A PNG file is a bitmap image which means it’s made up of pixels. A transparent PNG file allows you to see through the background, which makes it ideal for creating logos and other graphics that are going to be placed on top of something else in your design.

Here are 5 key differences between a PNG file and a Transparent PNG file:

1. Transparency

PNG files do not support transparency and a transparent area of an image will be filled with white space. Transparent PNG file, on the other hand supports transparency and allows you to see through the background.

2. Compression properties

When it comes to compression, a PNG file can use either lossless or lossy compression while a transparent PNG only uses lossless compression. This means that if you get downsized from a larger image (either by your web host, another site etc.) then you risk losing color information when using lossy compression for your images.

If your current image is compressed with JPEG or another similar method (baseline, progressive) and has already lost some of its data in the initial downsizing, then convert it to a PNG image before uploading it. This will ensure that you’re not losing any additional data from compression.

3. File size

Transparent PNG files are generally larger than their GIF and JPEG counterparts! This is because the background of an image is no longer transparent, but made up of pixels instead. While a JPEG or GIF file is limited by the number 256 colors, a Transparent PNG file does not have this limitation and can be as many colors as your original source image was.

4. Indexed color vs RGB color palettes

A PNG file uses indexed color while a transparent PNG uses either grayscale or RGB color palette options. In other words, if you open an IE-friendly Transparent PNG in photoshop, all the colors will be the same. By that, I mean that if you have a transparent PNG with a gradient, then it will all be one color, not two colors as it would look like in photoshop.

While this may seem like an inconvenience at first, it’s actually quite useful because images are indexed on WebKit browsers (Chrome and Safari) which allows them to display much faster than they would otherwise.

5. Animation

One of the cool things about transparency is that you can animate it by using CSS3 or JavaScript. Unfortunately, a normal PNG file cannot be animated – only a transparent PNG file can.


The PNG file format is a popular image file type because it offers better compression than JPEG files. A transparent PNG, also known as an alpha channel, works the same way but can be used to create interesting effects that are not possible with other types of images. The two file formats can be used interchangeably to produce superb graphic effects.

If you need to use these formats in your own design work, don’t hesitate to download high-quality free png images from our website.