What Size Should Good Animated GIFs Be?

GIFs have been around since 1987, when color was just starting to be something seen on the internet. There are many different free platforms online that you can use to create your own graphics interchange format (GIF). The problem many people run into, even those with plenty of experience with internet systems, is size. What size should animated GIFs be?

An animated GIF cannot be any larger than 720p, but even that is big when it comes down to it. The suggested size for a good animated GIF is right around 480p. The more pixels included in the animation, the bigger it will be and the longer it will take to load.

This sounds pretty simple, but that is just the basic, easy answer. Numerous things can affect the number of pixels in your GIF, which you must understand before it can be optimized perfectly. Let’s read on and learn more about this subject together.

The Best Size For An Animated GIF

At one time in history, GIFs were a considerable aspect of communication between friends and family. A funny or eye-catching way to get your point across. The GIF is now used for personal communication and business email marketing strategies. It is an effective way to catch the eyes of potential customers, so once again, the GIF has risen in popularity.

Many different platforms will tell you what size the GIF should be and how to optimize it for better viewing.

Optimizing GIFs

The best way to keep your GIF under the size limits is to optimize it before actually using it. If you have been creating your animation through a platform or program designed for it, you will already have the option to input the sizes and pixel amounts you want.

Either way, you will want to go through it again and do everything you can to optimize it:

  • Reduce The Color Amount – The more colors you have in the GIF, the slower it will load. You want to decrease the colors you use to the bare minimum amount. Do not go too low, though, or your GIF will not look clear and colorful.
  • Resize – Any platform you use to create the GIF will also have the option to resize it. You want the Gif to stay right around 480 pixels, but a little off on either side will work just as well. Never go over 720p because that is the top-end limit.
  • Keep It Simple – The best route to take when creating a GIF is to use basic shapes and diagrams rather than photos. It goes back to the point of less is more. The fewer complicated photos a GIF has, the better off you are.
  • Cover Up The Photos – If you have to have a photo to make it work for you, then take advantage of some shapes and colored boxes to cover as much up as possible. This will decrease the number of colors in the GIF, decreasing its size.
  • Smooth Gradients – If you use gradients (gradual blending of colors), they need to be smooth transitions that do not cause an increase in size.
  • Reduce Frames – How the GIF works is that it is saved as frame-by-frame images, and then when loaded, they move so fast that it appears to be a moving object. Reduce the number of frames needed to 2 or 3 if possible.
  • Trim The Extras – If there are parts of the GIF that do not actually need to be animated, remove them. Remember, the less you have, the better the GIF will be, as long as it still makes sense and does the intended job.

It may seem like a ton of steps to get your GIF optimized, but if you do them as you create it, the result will be a perfect-sized GIF that loads fast and catches the eye of the person you are trying to attract.

What Affects GIF Size?

There is a lot to a GIF and getting it to upload and download at a quick rate can be nearly impossible if you do not know what you are doing.

The pointers above are the most important parts of creating and editing a GIF, but there are a few more things that you need to consider:

  • Resolution – The number of pixels added to the GIF will be one of the biggest causes of having a file that is too large. A GIF is made to be under 500 pixels wide, so the lower you go, the better it will be when loading.
  • Colors – The more distinct the GIF color, the better it will look, but keep the sizes low. You will have the option of making the colors 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256. Stick with the lowest possible for each color that you are using.
  • Framerate – This is the number of frames the Gif has per second. It determines the total amount of frames that it will have. The optimal amount of frames per second should be between 15 and 24.

Even if this seems a little too technical, the program you are working through will have information for you to read through. Keep this article close by until you get the hang of it.


It is important that you have a basic understanding of the process, though. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of time and money on a GIF that does not perform as you want it to. If you are having a hard time understanding the in-depth inner working of the GIF, as long as you follow the guidelines and stay under the maximum pixel amounts, the animation will be fine.

No matter how much time and effort you put into creating one, it will be necessary to go back through it and optimize the GIF. To figure out what size a good animated GIF should be, you must go through the process of creating and optimizing it because each one will be a little different.

There are no -one-size-fits-all GIFs, so the rule of thumb to follow is the smaller, the better, just be sure not to sacrifice quality.