Why is SVG the best format for icon animation

SVG is one of the most versatile and performant file formats out there, and that’s just one of the reasons why it’s perfect for all your icon animation needs.

Want to find out more? Read on to see what are the benefits of using SVG icon animation on your website and find out how to create them without coding.

What Is SVG Animation?

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a XML-based file format with an icon structure that can be created with very little effort and without the need for coding. You can combine SVG files with HTML in a couple of steps, in the same way as you’d create all your other HTML documents.

The benefits of this are quite clear, as you get the best of both worlds with the ability to design and animate your icons using free tools and easily repurpose them into other media.

While it’s ideal for icon packs, SVGs can also be used as standalone CSS files, and is used by big players such as Facebook and Google for their libraries.

Further, many CSS properties are available for SVG, such as position, scaling, rotation and, importantly, transforms.

These properties have real-world applications, and we’ll look at how you can use them to create interesting, useful and customisable animations.

What is the difference between SVG and GIF icon animation?

SVG is lightweight and quicker to produce than the popular GIF, which uses simple sequences of simple images to produce an animation. SVG files are also larger in file size than GIF files, and have a base resolution of 1px.

On the other hand, SVG has a lower file size and can be scaled to any size, while GIF has a fixed resolution.

The main purpose of having two file formats is for greater compatibility and accessibility, with SVG having some useful properties that can be easily applied to any type of animation or design.

GIF was originally made to be used for displaying the bitmap as one of the layers in a slideshow, but now it’s being used for anything animated.

That’s why it doesn’t play nicely with the browser’s zoom and pan controls.

Another feature that GIF has is that each frame is very short – usually about a second long. By comparison, SVG is a bit longer – on average, about 20 times as long.

This means that, unlike GIF, you’ll be able to create animations that play for longer without shortening them or making them look unnatural.

SVG animation is often simpler to create because there’s no need to create a thumbnail. With just one frame to use, you’re free to go as long or as short as you like.

What are the benefits of SVGs?

SVGs are very versatile and can be used in many different ways. They can be created on the go, meaning there’s no waiting for the files to download.

The huge collection of SVG properties make them a great fit for static sites. They’re also popular for application-specific animations.

SVG animations can easily be built to any color palette, meaning you can seamlessly apply your design to your site or app.

Here are some other benefits you might consider if you use SVG file format:

  • You can easily create icons without using a collage template
  • SVG icons are also easy to style, so you don’t have to use CSS selectors
  • SVG animation isn’t difficult to create
  • SVG is great for displaying the icon in a manner that allows visitors to zoom into it and interact with it easily

Also, remember that SVG is an open format, so you’re free to do whatever you want with your icon, but some design guidelines are available.

What about creating icons from scratch?

While you can create a small number of icons using SVG – with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash or SVGator, for example – there are also some advantages to creating icons from scratch using HTML and CSS, but it depends on the complexity of your project.


If you’re looking to create an icon animation for your website, SVGs are a great choice. They are simple to create and use, they’re CSS-based, and they’re supported by the majority of web browsers.

Whether you’re creating an animation for an interactive tool or to enhance a user experience, you’ll find that SVG file format is the perfect choice.

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