The final answer to this is that both will provide images which can be used for branding.
There are reasons for both, however I believe the better way (especially when using publishing) is to use the Style Library in a site to insert branding images.
Images are then stored in the content DB, and when a content DB is restored (e.g. DR scenario), the images will still be available to the farm for branding.
There is a performance hit for BLOBs in SQL, that's true: but if this were the reason you wouldn't add images, I would suggest not using SharePoint as document/image libraries are what SharePoint is designed to manage (yes there is RBS for storing documents on a file system if required).
Adding images to the 12-Hive (dpeloyed say via a feature in a WSP package) could work as well, and provide greater reach (farm scoped) for branding.
You could have a master Branding library and have styles linking to them (using absolute paths).
In summary, most images I would put in a library inside of SharePoint. This helps ensure your branding will follow your site(s) where-ever they go, and makes managing them much easier. They can still be available throughout the whole farm anyway.