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GIFs – Why the Hilarious Internet Antic is No Joke

3 MINUTE READ | June 28, 2016

GIFs – Why the Hilarious Internet Antic is No Joke

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Alana Mandel

Alana Mandel has written this article. More details coming soon.

GIFs have been a staple for web humor since CompuServe founder Steve Wilhite debuted the first GIF in 1987. What began as a format for compressing images so that slow modems could load them easily, soon turned into a widely used internet sensation. With its ability to achieve animation through time delays, the animated GIF started appearing on websites throughout the 90’s.

GIFs also gained internet fame on popular crowd-sourced sites across Tumblr, Myspace, and Reddit. Sites like #WhatShouldWeCallMe and GIFs From Last Night gave a forum for internet wisecrackers to craft the perfectly suited reaction for every situation.

When you find the perfect GIF for this section of the blog post:

Even messaging apps have adopted the usage of GIFs. Slack implements a simple command that auto-generates the perfect GIF for any word. Additionally, Riffsy offers an embedded GIF keyboard for your iPhone, so that users everywhere can respond to their friends and co-workers with hilarious moving images.

by artist Skip Hursh for Computer Arts Magazine, Spring 2015

The popularity of GIFs across blogs and social media platforms makes the format a force to be reckoned with. Artists and advertisers are catching on, taking the chance to fuse art into the world of internet humor. Opting for cleverly animated illustrations over cuts from popular film and tv, this new wave of GIFs showcase a coveted skill in art production. Advertisers are also using the format to add depth to editorial photography with the GIF medium, the cinemagraph.

In a time where we can scroll past a piece of content in under a second, keeping our audiences engaged is key. For most users, a GIF is just as snackable as a photograph. Some illustrators and expert GIF-makers have taken the opportunity to keep viewers engaged with a trance-like quality to their pieces. Check out Archery, a GIF artist who uses mathematics to create mesmerizing loops.

credit: Archery

What’s really cool and interesting about how popular GIFs have become is the massive amount of variety sprouting up in the GIF art world. Publications and brands alike are hiring GIF artists to give their creative a fun and refreshing spin. Starbucks jumped on by hiring artist Julian Glander to illustrate a series of fun frappuccino GIFs.

Starbucks Frappuccino by Julian Glander

We’ll definitely be seeing GIFs around for a while in advertising and design, thanks to the artists and animation pioneers configuring cool new ways to give art movement. Check out more pieces of amazing GIF art at the links below. Happy browsing!

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