Once the design finally began coming together and looked consistent in as many browsers as I could find, it was time to begin optimizing the site for performance — not just to decrease loading time, but also to conserve as much bandwidth as possible. For the images, I began by consolidating the collection into four or five sprites, each containing graphics of similar dimensions. By reducing the number of server requests for images from 50 to 5, I was able to speed up loading times dramatically.
Then, to reduce the overall size of each of the sprites, I further optimized them with the incredible OptiPNG. Crunching the images with OptiPNG, I reduced overall graphics size by over 25%, thereby saving bandwidth and further decreasing load times. Further, PNG image optization via OptiPNG is lossless, meaning there is no loss of image quality.