Resolution Guide Introduction: A common issue with printing can be pixelation, a term used when images don’t look sharp. Here we try to explain why this happens and what you can do to prevent it.
- Basic overview of resolution and why printing needs high resolution artwork.
- How to make sure you have the correct resolution for your art
- How you can generate high resolution formats.
Overview of resolution
One thing we hear regularly is that artwork looks great on the computer monitor but will it be ok to print? Computer screens have a lower display formats than paper. That is to say, an image does not need to be as high a quality then something on paper to make it look sharp and vibrant. Technically speaking, images and graphics are made up from small dots (pixels), dpi refers to the number of these dots per inch. An image made from dots is called a raster image. There is another format called vectors, these are graphics made from equations and will never distort at any size.
How to check the resolution of a document
Rule of thumb – the best way to check the resolution of a document is to view the image on a screen at three to four times the final size that it will be printed. View the artwork on your screen and zoom in to 400%. This should give a good idea of the level of detail visible when printed. The reason for this is that a screen will display the image at 72-100dpi where when printed you will be able to see upto 300dpi. Using this we are able to see the correct dimensions for a document in pixels.
How to create high resolution documents (or fix documents)
Normally a document will fit into one of three categories. By using the 400% rule of thumb you should be able to identify which category your document fits into.
Issue: Certain parts of the document are low resolution:
Action: Replace the low resolution images
Issue: Part of the document is vectored and the rest is low resolution
Action: By making a picture or logo smaller you can reduce pixelation. Use the 4 x rule of thumb to check.
Issue: The whole document is low resolution
Action: This is by far the most complex & expensive issue, pictures unfortunately cannot normally be rebuilt. With logos it is often possible to rebuild, however it is expensive as it requires a lot of design time. If this is your only option we will be happy to provide a quote.