World Wide Web Consortium Issues First Recommendation for PNG

PNG Delivers Higher Quality Graphics for Web Page Design

Press Release

Fact Sheet


For immediate release (cet document est également disponsible en Français)

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Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA -- October 7, 1996 -- Responding to a need for faster loading, enhanced quality cross-platform Web graphics, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today endorsed the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) specification as a W3C Recommendation. This means that the specification is stable, contributes toward the W3C mission of 'Realizing the Full Potential of the Web', and that W3C Members have reviewed it and are in favor of supporting its adoption by the industry.

PNG answers the need of the Web page design community for cross-platform Web graphics. PNG offers particular advantages for brand recognition, product design, medical applications, fine art and on-line catalogs, where visual quality is important. PNG provides information in the file about the characteristics of the authoring platform, so that the viewing software can automatically compensate and display the image correctly.

"PNG is a significant advancement in Web graphical design and we are excited about the possibilities that it promises," said Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Web Consortium and creator of the World Wide Web. "The W3C is working to enhance the user interface; we are confident that PNG provides the best lossless format for Web graphical design available today. We are seeing more of our Members adopt the format and are helping make it the industry standard."

"Designers routinely use variable transparency when creating images for print," explained Chris Lilley, the W3C's graphics lead. "But up to now, only crude on-or-off transparency has been available on the Web which has led to jagged images that did not blend into the background, or images with undesirable white haloes. PNG offers optional full transparency, enabling content with partially transparent overlaid images which will display correctly over any background color or texture."

The development of the PNG specification was supported by W3C and by CompuServe - original creators of the GIF format and now W3C Members - who both wished to see PNG become accepted as the new Internet standard format for lossless graphics.

(Please see attached PNG fact sheet and testimonials document for additional information on PNG.)

World Wide Web Consortium

The W3C was created to develop common standards for the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date over 150 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Now in its third decade, MIT LCS is dedicated to the invention, development and understanding of information technologies expected to drive substantial technical and socio-economic change. The LCS has helped information technology grow from a mere curiosity to 10 percent of the industrial world's economies by its pioneering efforts in interactive computing, computer networking, distributed systems and public key cryptography. LCS members and alumni have started some thirty companies and have pioneered the Nubus, the X-Window System, the RSA algorithm, the Ethernet and spreadsheets.

Instiut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique

INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, is a public-sector scientific institute charged with conducting both fundemental and applied research, and with transferring research results to industry. INRIA is made up of five Research Units located at Rocquencourt (near Paris), Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Nancy and Grenoble. Areas of current research include information processing, advanced high speed networking, structured documents, and scientific computation.

Keio University

Keio University is one of Japan's foremost computer science research centers and universities. It is one of the oldest private universities in Japan, and has five major campuses around Tokyo. Keio University has been promoting joint research projects in cooperation with industry, government and international organizations, and is now becoming one of the research leaders for the network and digital media technology.

Further information on the World Wide Web Consortium is available via the Web at

For information on PNG in particular, see

Press Release

Fact Sheet