PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES!
Visual representation is extremely important! All we have to do is look to our daily habits to know that we are a very visual society. Can anyone say that the convenience of having a camera, by way of cell phone, in our pockets hasn’t increased the number of photos we take? There was a time when everyone knew it was “just” a cell phone photo, but now our cell phones take images that are as good as, if not better, than some cameras. Features such as: auto-focus, flash, and high-resolution image sensors have made grainy, unfocused, washed-out cell-phone pictures obsolete.
You may have noticed I “bolded” high-resolution, yep did it again. That is because that is really what I want to discuss today. Resolution quality differs depending on what media you are using. If you are using images on a website then 72 dpi (dots per inch) is pretty standard. The truth is that 72 dpi looks good on a computer screen and more importantly the image file is smaller which helps it load much faster on your computer. However, if your image is printed 72 dpi will print much like those old cell phone photos, grainy, unfocused and/or washed-out.
Print needs high-resolution, print needs to be 300 dpi. Wow, that is a big difference! Yes it is, and we could get really technical here and talk about lpi (lines per inch) for various printers and ink absorption as it relates to paper quality, but here is the simplified version. Anything under 266 dpi runs the risk of printing with noticeable pixelation. Printers prefer a resolution of 300 dpi so that you are guaranteed of a sharp, detailed image and after all why would you want include imagery if the people looking at it are only going to notice it’s low quality.
There it is short and sweet. So, if you are asked if your artwork, logo or picture is high-resolution you will know the answer they are hoping for is, “yes, it is 300 dpi”.
Fun Fact: In 1938, Chester Carlson invented a dry printing process called electrophotography commonly called a Xerox, the foundation technology for laser printers to come. For years, nobody seemed to pay any interest to Carson’s invention. From 1939 to 1944 Carlson was turned down by more than 20 companies.