What is an SVG?
If you are new to working with Design Space, you might be wondering what the differences are between the different Cricut file formats: JPG, PNG and SVG.
An SVG, (Scalable Vector Graphic), is a high-quality digital file format. SVG files can be stored as multiple layers. Using vectors (paths) to create shapes and lines, allows the software to mathematically round, smooth, colour and fill the shapes that it creates. Not only does this eliminate the entire background removal step in Design Space, (which you may be familiar with from working with .PNG), but it also means that you can increase the dimensions of the cut, without being left with any rough or skewed edges.
If you want to use your Cricut to create a multi-layered project, or an item with larger dimensions than your original file, then you are best off starting with a scalable, multi-layered SVG file.
You might see people asking for free SVGs in online groups. It is unlikely that they are actually being sent SVG files, here are a few reasons why;
Only certain specialist software can read the SVG format. Windows isn’t even one of them. That’s why you can’t usually see a thumbnail preview for .SVG files in your folders (shown in image above).
To create SVG files, you need to install specific software, that supports paths (vector lines).
- Whilst Design Space supports vectors, you are limited to what you can create (without subscribing to Cricut Access or paying for a design).
- Designs that you create in Design Space, are not stored like usual files.
- If you are not experienced with computers, we would suggest that you check if your computer can handle it, before you invest in any more software.
If you are looking for how to create your own vector files, we would recommend paid software such as Adobe Illustrator or Canva Pro. Both of these have the ability to create and save as .SVG.
Learning how to create SVG files is not a fast process for a beginner. You will often see them on sale on websites such as Etsy. You can usually buy a bundle of files, related to a subject or occasion, for less than £5, and this is usually the quickest way to get crafting.
What is a PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file?
PNGs, (Portable Network Graphics) are a type of high quality raster image format, compatible with almost all websites and applications. They support transparent backgrounds, and are widely used and shared online.
Single-layer PNG images are made up of individual coloured squares known as pixels. The amount of pixels depends on the original file size. When a PNG is saved, the original image data is stored, so the file does not lose any quality.
Windows can directly read PNGs, so if you are viewing on the thumbnail setting, you should be able to see a small preview of the PNG image when browsing your folders.
When you upload a PNG image to Cricut Design Space, you will need to select the "image type" and you may have to play around with this until you get the desired outcome.
If you want to use Design Space and your Cricut machine to cut a multi-coloured PNG image, unless you have a printer and are able to use print and cut, Design Space won't be able to differentiate between the colours on the flat (single-layer) format.
Need to separate the parts? Then there is more manual work to do. See example below.
Because PNGs are made up of pixels, if you increase the size of your upload on Design Space, to larger than the original file, you may notice that it distorts in parts. This can also affect the cut.
What is a JPEG / JPG?
JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, also known as JPG,
It is the most common image format used and shared online. Like PNGs, JPEGs can be read by most software.
As JPEG is a lossy-compression image format, that does not support transparent backgrounds, we would advise avoiding using them when working on cut projects in Design Space.
Knowing what you want to achieve with the file, will give you a better idea of which image format to work with.
Using new programs and applications is overwhelming. If you are new to Design Space, or are not advanced with technology then it is really easy to miss possible the problem with your file whilst you are focusing other things.
If you found this article helpful, please check out our recently-created craft community on Facebook - Unofficial Cricut and Crafting Support and Designs.