What is a GIF, you ask?

GIFS … we’ve all seen them, we’ve all used them, we’ve all laughed at them.

But what is their purpose exactly?

GIF stands for ‘Graphics Interchange Formats,’ a file that supports both static and animated images.

In layman’s terms, it means looping bits of animation to replace text which tells a visual story — and at its heart lies the element of fun.

A GIF looks something like this:

Or this:

It was created by Steve Wilhite in 1987, an American computer scientist. He was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The 17th Annual Webbys for his invention, and for his 5-Word Speech, he chose to teach the world how to properly pronounce his invention.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually pronounced with a soft G, like the famous Peanut Butter brand.

So what is a GIF?

GIFS have for purpose of expressing actions, emotions and reactions, such as the following:


They might be snippets from a film, a clip from a TV show or adverts played on a loop. There’s a whole database of them in fact, and it’s all because moving images are more visually appealing than static images, far more powerful than written content.

It’s no surprise then, that in the last 30 years since its creation, they’ve become one of the internet’s biggest trends.

But they’re not just used for entertainment’s sake.

GIFS are also great for encouraging interaction on social media platforms, customer-client communication via emails, creating visual how-to-videos, digital marketing and more.

GIFS can also be used to show your company’s brand or personality — take the example of Marie Claire, who relied on them to advertise its products in motion:

SOCIAL MEDIA 

GIFS are always entertaining and often funnier than actual words. So whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or Skype… Admit it, you’ve already tagged your friends in a GIF we can all relate to! GIFS attract interest to your post and are more likely to generate additional shares and likes. After all, who could resist…

MARKETING 

GIFS are also good for your digital marketing strategy, as they can tell a story that has an emotional impact on you, or explains a process that is just better understood through a visual medium.

Besides, creating GIFS for your company can highlight your fun office culture and attract interest in your product or services in a lighthearted and humorous way.

ADVERTISING 

The language that more and more people are using online, GIFS can also promote a product by highlighting benefits and features that are best portrayed in motion, like glossy hair products or strappy sandals. If companies can effectively integrate their moving images into the public’s everyday conversation and culture, then it’s advertising working at its finest.


Finally, would you now like to create one? Let us show you how!

Go to GIF’s official website and provider https://giphy.com/create/gifmaker and follow these simple steps:

  1. choose a photo, GIF or video
  2. add any URL (YouTube, Vimeo, and Giphy links are supported)
  3.  find your inspiration by adding captions, stickers, filters and your own drawings
  4. time to upload

There you have it, your own personalised GIF.

Enjoy the fun!

Ariana Williams
Ariana Williams
Ariana is a London-based journalist with strong editorial and production experience in broadcast media. Her career in the industry started in Paris where she worked as a content writer for HOME Magazine, and then as a production/news assistant for CNN International and The Paris Bureau Productions on a large variety of shows.
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