25 years ago today, a great gift was bestowed upon this rock we call Earth. No, not the birth of Croatian tennis player Ani Mijacika–I am talking about a little thing all of us here on the Internet like to call a GIF. My sources at Wikipedia tell me that the GIF, also known as Graphics Interchange Format, was introduced in 1987 by CompuServe in order to transfer color images efficiently across slow modems. The brilliant minds at CompuServe would later evolve their initial 87a GIF format into the 89a, which supported animation delays.
The GIF hit a small rough patch in the 90’s when they became the staple for terribly designed websites everywhere. Are your nightmares haunted by dancing babies and Angelfire torches? Well, you can thank the GIF for that. In an interview with The Daily Dot, GIF artist Jason Reed said, “If you asked me in 1997, GIFs were god-awful clip-art in motion clustered on to a seizure-inducing GeoCities nightmare.” Well said, Jason.
Since then, the GIF has transformed from kitschy to avant-garde thanks to artists like Rick Silva and Kevin Burg. With hordes of animated GIFs showing up on Tumblr and WordPress blogs, the GIF has gone from obscure file-sharing format to internet phenomenon.
If that comprehensive history lesson of the GIF wasn’t enough excitement for you, below we have compiled some of our staff’s favorite GIFs in honor of this momentous occasion.