Whether you’re designing marketing tools like business cards and brochures or personal keepsakes such as family photos, you want your print projects to look sharp and professional. The key to achieving these results is proper image resolution.
Image resolution measures how many tiny dots or pixels are packed into each square inch of an image. The higher the resolution, the better the quality.
Dots Per Inch (DPI)
Dots per inch (DPI) measures how many beads fit into a linear inch. Generally, the higher the DPI, the more detail and sharpness can be achieved with a print.
This number differs from pixels per inch (PPI), which refers to the pixel density of digital images on computer screens and does not apply to prints. This is because the resolution of a pattern is determined by the printing medium, not the image editing software.
The DPI required for a print depends on how the pattern will be used and the viewing distance. For example, posters require a higher DPI than fine-art prints. The type of printer and paper also influences the DPI needed. For instance, a laser printer produces a high-resolution image with tiny dots, while an inkjet printer creates larger beads.
Generally, it recommends printing a file with a PPI of 300 or greater. When working with image editing programs like Printivity, ensure your file is set to this PPI before starting your design. Increasing the resolution of a file after the procedure is completed, known as upsampling, can cause an image to look blurry and blocky when printed. This is because upsampling only adds more pixels or dots without changing their dimensions, which can result in an image that looks pixelated and unprofessional.
Pixels Per Inch (PPI)
Print resolution refers to the number of pixels (dots) that make up an image. Higher-resolution images have a higher pixel density and will be printed at a lower DPI than lower-resolution images. This is important because if your print needs more pixels to produce a high-quality image on paper, it won’t look as sharp and clear as you would like.
The industry standard for print resolution is 300 ppi. The offset printing press cannot accurately reproduce solutions above 300 ppi. When you design your files at this resolution, they will be printed with minimal blurring or pixelation.
Most websites use low-resolution images (72 or 96 ppi) because they are designed for quick transmission over the internet, but this works better for prints. If you use an appearance or graphics from a website, it is best to have them redesigned for your project at a high resolution before using them in your prints.
When you create a new document, raster programs (software that works with pixel-based media) usually set their PPI resolution initially. This makes it easy to check if an image is sized correctly before sending it to the printer. However, increasing the resolution of a file after it has been designed is called upsampling and will lead to blocky, grainy images that will not print well.
For images used for print, the pixel dimension is an essential factor. When printed at high resolution, the image will have a clear, undistorted look. This is because the printer can produce each dot with enough precision. However, it is also necessary to consider the photo’s subject matter. For example, if the image is a close-up of a face or other object, it will require a higher pixel count to ensure that each tiny detail can be discerned.
If the pixel dimensions are too small, it will be difficult for the print to look good. The dots will be too large to fit on the page. In addition, if the image is printed at a lower dpi than initially designed, there may be an issue with image quality.
In general, the ideal image size for printing is 300 dpi. This is the recommended resolution for most materials that will be viewed up close (such as brochures, books, flyers, and posters). However, larger prints can often be printed at lower resolutions without losing any visible clarity.
For images intended to be printed smaller, it is best to start with the highest pixel resolution possible and then decrease the file size by reducing the document dimension. This will prevent an image from being interpolated, which could cause it to lose detail or have jagged edges.
Image resolution has much to do with how sharp and clear your printed pieces will look. If you publish something at a lower resolution than 300 PPI, it will likely come out looking pixelated (technical term for blurry).
The image resolution you need depends on how big the final print will be and what it will be used for. For example, an image that will be viewed from a billboard far away needs a lower resolution than an art print for an exhibition meant to be viewed up close.
To determine the resolution of an image, divide its pixel width and height by 300 or 400 for pictures with text. This will give you the maximum size at which you can use the image without sacrificing image quality.
When designing an image for printing, it is essential to consider its resolution from the start. It can be tempting to save a file as low-resolution to make it quicker to upload and download, but doing so will negatively impact the finished product’s appearance. Even increasing an image’s PPI after the design has been completed, a process called upconverting, won’t improve the appearance of a low-resolution image. The best way to avoid this issue is to design your files at 300 ppi or higher.