We recently created a little video (which is shown below) to showcase the differences between printing using high quality imagery and that of low quality images. On Facebook we had a great reaction to this from many of our regular customers, especially our graphic design friends, but it was many of our customers and potential customers who got the most from this.

Often when creating designs for our customers, we’re presented with images that sadly would print in a manner that we would reject and our clients wouldn’t accept. Usually these are images “taken from the web” or found on Facebook and while they look fine on screen, when put into a format for printing, they are less than acceptable. Our clients respond with “my images are good on screen” or “it’ll do” but whenever they see the printing quality they are less than impressed. Digital media is completely different from printed media and as we address this question many times a week, we thought it best to bring this to a blog post to ensure we put the main points forward to help all our customers, designers or not with the issue of high resolution imagery versus low resolution images. It’ll be a roller coaster ride folks, so hang on in there.

What is a high resolution image?

To be high resolution, an image needs to be a minimum of 300 dpi. The dpi stands for dots per inch and this is how many dots are printed in a a 1inch x 1inch square. The more dots which are also known as pixels, the better quality the print. Anything under 300dpi is considered a low resolution image, however in various instances many people will find a 200dpi or 150dpi image suitable for purpose. We’ll always do our best to advise if we are unhappy with the quality of the image.

Images “taken from the internet” are usually 72dpi. This is the perfect resolution for screen use as they are quick to download and the quality doesn’t need to be as high. however with the advent of higher resolution screens such as the Apple retina 5k screens and fibre optic broadband becoming more standard you will see a much higher quality screen resolution become commonplace.

For reference, 72dpi is about 1/4 the quality of a 300dpi image. When printed a web image or 72dpi image will look pixelated (jaggy or blocky). 

As a company we do our very best to spot low resolution images before printing however it is the responsibility of our clients to provide print ready artwork. As a general rule, images form Facebook or the internet are not suitable for high resolution printing. 

Our graphic design studio in Belfast Kaizen Brand Evolution counteract the opportunity for low resolution imagery by sourcing images from subscriptions sites such as istockphoto or shutterstock. While not the cheapest of options, they both provide access to millions of images which are great for hundreds of thousands of purposes and better than that, they are all high quality, high resolution, “for print” images.

If you ever have any questions regarding your images, please do feel free to contact us. Our artworking team have seen it all before