print resolution

Pixel Resolution: Will it look good printed?

In Client Education, Print Design by Anthony

I periodically receive low resolution (that is, low quality) photos from clients, intended for use in printed pieces. They believe because an image looks okay on their monitor that it will print out properly. I've created this animated infographic to address the dilemma. If you are unable to watch the video, please read the following article.

As a motion graphic artist, I take recurring questions and answer them in a clear and concise way. This saves businesses time, effort and energy and makes answers more accessible and repeatable. If there's a common client question that occupies a lot of your day, feel free to reach out to me for a solution!

"My image looks fine on screen — surely it will look good when printed... right?"

The answer mainly depends on the pixel resolution of the image. Pixels are building blocks for digital images.

Web-based images are often reduced to a minimal size in order to load faster and reduce data usage — but this means they're not the highest quality. Printed images require more pixels, around 4 times more, to look good. Why is this? Ink on paper holds more a lot more detail than pixels on a screen. It's possible to stretch small, low-res images to a larger area, however, the image quality breaks down. They'll look blurry and pixelated. It's essential to get a hold of high-resolution files, either from a photographer or stock photo site.

Optimally, logos and line art should be provided in vector format. Vectors are smooth lines and points that can be enlarged to any size without a reduction in quality. Alternatively, a high-resolution png format — with a transparent background — can suffice.

Each inch of a printed area should have an image resolution that's at least 300 pixels square. So, an 8.5" X 11" page would call for an image that's 2,550 X 3,300 in pixels. Remember - just because an image may look okay on screen, there's no guarantee that it can be used in print. When in doubt, ask your printer for a proof before going to print.

For examples please check out the video above or this infographic.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question below, and contact us for a free phone consultation ... stay tuned for the next segment!

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