Pixelated or fuzzy images can take the punch out of your great marketing piece. That’s why it’s so important to use high-resolution images and graphics in your print marketing.

What is resolution?

Resolution is the amount of data or detail within an image, also referred to as DPI (dots per inch) or PPI (pixels per inch). The higher the resolution – the larger the image can be printed without resulting in pixelation.

The difference between print (DPI) and digital (PPI)

Photos you see online (your website, social media, etc.) typically range between 72 – 100 PPI. Print, on the other hand, requires a minimum of 300 DPI to guarantee clarity. As you can see, there is a huge discrepancy between the two, so it’s not likely that what you see online can be printed with the same result. In other words, what may look nice and crisp on your computer screen, can turn out to be a big disappointment on a printed flyer.

Where can I find the right images?

Most of the time, images you find online aren’t sufficient for printing (ex: Google images, Facebook, Instagram). When searching the web for print-worthy photos, we recommend stock photo sites that offer high-quality curated images that guarantee resolution for printing and other media.

Looking for one-of-a-kind images, or need headshots for your team? We always recommend using a professional photographer. If you’re handy with a camera (not a cellphone or iPad camera), that works too!

What makes an image fuzzy?

Pixilation occurs when the pixels within an image are stretched beyond their original size. Below is an example of how the two resolutions compare when printed. The image on the right is what happens when you print a photo with insufficient resolution. The edges of the flower are blurry and you can’t see the intricate detail of the bee’s wings.

resolution for printing

Can I increase the resolution of an image?

The general rule of thumb is no. Think of it like a haircut – you can always cut more off, but you can never add hair back if you accidentally trim too much. It’s the same with photos – you can always decrease resolution, but can never increase it.

While it is possible to convert a lower res image to a higher res, it will not increase the data and, as a result, the image decreases significantly in size. See below. The image on the left has been converted to 300 DPI, resulting in a much smaller photo on the right. This conversion made it the proper resolution for printing, but its new smaller size may not complement your print piece in the same way.

resolution for printing

Let us help!

When it comes to print, there are so many factors that go into making sure your files are at optimal quality to ensure your project comes out beautifully. It can be very overwhelming. That’s where we come in. We have extensive experience in all things print and are happy to help in any way. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about the printing process or receive a free quote for your print project.

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