Resolution is a key concept that you need to understand when you are working with files for print or for the web. Many of our customers struggle with the idea of resolution and this can lead to disastrous results when it comes time to print. If you are confused about resolution, take a minute to read this post. Understanding resolution and the different resolution requirements for print and web will make communicating with your graphic designer, web design or printer much easier.
What is resolution?
Images are made up of dots or pixels and an images resolution will determine just how clear or blurry an image is. On your computer screen, images are made up of many tiny pixels. When you print an image, that image is made up of a series of ink dots on your page. Resolution is actually the measure of how many dots or pixels make up an image. It would be ridiculous of course, to actually count all the pixels or dots in an image so resolution is actually a measure of how many pixel or dots there are per inch of your image. On the web, resolution is measured as pixels per inch (ppi) whereas for print, resolution is measured as dots per inch (dpi).
Let me explain what this means in a little more detail. For simplicity’s sake, lets say that we have an image that is made up of 100 pixels by 100 pixels. This means that the image is made up of a total of 100,000 pixels. What would happen now if you were to add more dots or pixels to that same image while keeping the size of that image the same? Lets say, for example, that that same image is now made up of 300 pixels by 300 pixels. This would mean that your image would now be made up of more information and it would appear more detailed and clearer. But how does this affect you and translate to the differences you see in print and web resolution?
Resolution for Print
In general, printers require images that are at least 300 dpi. If you supply a printer with a file that is less than 300 dpi, the images in your file will look blurry and out of focus. Some printers even require a higher resolution than 300 dpi so it is always a good idea to consult with your printer before sending him or her your final files for print.
Resolution for Web
Website images require a much lower resolution than magazine advertisements, brochures, business cards or anything else that is to be printed. In general, images on the web should be 72 ppi. Of course, you can put images on the web that are of higher resolution however, the higher the resolution of an image means that it will have a larger file size. Large files take longer to load on the web therefore it is a good idea to keep your web images as small as possible by setting them to 72 ppi.
Key points to remember:
* Always keep a copy of your original image at its highest resolution
* Web images are 72 ppi
* Print images are 300 dpi (minimum)
We recommend that you take a high resolution PDF of what you would like printed to your printer. Remember that PDFs are an excellent format for printing because all of your fonts, photographs, etc are all embedded in a PDF file. Click here for more information on how to create a print-ready PDF.