Image Resolution suggested for optimal printing quality in digital and Offset methods

Make the best out of your print job!

#1 - Why is Image Resolution Important?

It is critical to explain first that the resolution is a concept that applies to digital images. Images in a file. Image resolution refers to the amount of detail that an image in a digital file such as a photograph or abstract images have. The higher the number that represents the resolution, the more detailed the image usually is.

When you want to have an image printed, you would typically want to see as much detail on the print as possible. High Image Resolution usually achieves that goal. If a print looks blurry, you can infer that the resolution of the file used to produce it was low. If you look at a piece of artwork, a painted canvas as an example, you cannot judge it by the term resolution

Suggested Image Resolution
Printing Method: Digital and Offset
Size (inches) Ideal (pixels) Smaller than Ideal  - Expect Ideal Image Resolution
  8.5" x 11" 2550 x 3300  Lower quality  300 dpi
 8.5" x 5.5" 2550 x 1650   Lower quality  300 dpi
 11"x17" 3300 x 5100   Lower quality  300 dpi
 12"x18" 3600 x 5400   Lower quality  300 dpi

#2 - Does everybody notice if the print has a proper resolution?

The way in which people look at printed documents affects how the resolution is perceived. Printed documents such as brochures, specification sheets and training manuals are looked at from a close distance which allows the individual to clearly recognize good resolution or lack-off it.

When the observer is situated at a distance from the print,the eye cannot see that level of detail and it might think that a low-resolution piece (from close distance) actually looks amazingly sharp when watched from far away.

How do you measure the "Resolution"?

The resolution is measured in "DPI" "TOTAL PIXELS" or "PIXELS PER INCH"

  • DPI Dots per InchIs a way to define the density of the image overall.
  • PIXELS are the basic units (think about them as dots and each dot can have a different color) that make a digital image. Therefore the total number of pixels per side of the image gives you a notion of how big an image is.
  • PIXELS PER INCH describes how many pixels per inch there are in an image. The higher the number, the more detail.

#3 - Image Resolution Affects Print Quality

Screens such as computer monitors display about 96 pixels per inch. Experience shows that in order to get the right amount of detail in a printed image, you need 300 pixels per inch (300 dpi).

Therefore when the image looks good on a screen, it will either print smaller than what you see on the screen, or if you keep the size (measured in inches), the printed image does not have enough “input” pixels to provide for the details, so those 96 pixels become expanded to take the empty space (the pixels that are not in the image). The image loses sharpness because of that same fact.

#4 - Can you improve the resolution of an image?

Image manipulation software can increase the resolution but with a loss of detail.

Always start with an image that has the necessary resolution to print.

Most of the images that you might find want to download from websites, for the reasons described in point #3, will look low resolution when printed.

#5 - HELPFUL TIPS for high quality printing and image resolution

  • Pictures from the web: Look for images in image banks such as Shutterstock, Adobe Photo, Istockphoto and many others instead of starting with images grabbed from other websites
  • Pictures from your camera: If you are taking your own pictures with a digital camera, use the highest resolution mode. If a friend is sharing an image with you so that you can insert it into a document that will later print, do not share the images through text message. Text messages downgrade the quality of the image
  • How to save images format-wise: .TIF is a format that does not lose quality every time you hit the SAVE button. JPG loses quality. PNG is appropriate for web but not for print.

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