Printing Basics Part 3 – Resolution: Print vs Web


Thanks to modern day printing technology we have the ability to print to any size and scale and prints can be made just as detailed, whether they are small enough to be framed on your desk, or large enough to cover the side of your entire office building.

Depending on the size of the piece, different types of printing processes are available. In terms of what you may need for business cards, flyers, brochures, vinyl banners, stickers and so on, all you really need to understand is what will happen when your image travels from your computer to a large scale printer.

Since most art is viewed exclusively on a computer or phone and at a resolution much lower than required for standard printing, we don’t often take into account how resolution factors into the final printed product. However, a good resolution can make the difference between a standout project and one that doesn’t quite look as sharp. Especially when including phone numbers or other details that need to be read, it’s important to really understand what resolution is and how it plays into your item.

One way that we measure resolution is by dots-per-inch or DPI. 72 DPI is a standard resolution for image files you are viewing on a computer or phone. At 72 DPI, you’re still getting a very sharp image on your high-resolution screen. In common printing practices, however, 300 DPI is the standard resolution. That’s more than four times the amount of dots per inch, though this number may vary depending on the type of print being used.

A big part of why the required resolution for printing is so much higher than when compared to the amount needed for viewing on a computer or mobile device, is because the resolution needs provide enough detail for print. If you have ever seen a flyer that was blurry and unclear, there is a good chance it was printed at a low resolution. Or, if there are elements of the design that are pixelated or blurry but the rest looks good, the designer may have inadvertently included a low-resolution image in the design.

Therefore, starting a fresh design at the right dimensions and resolution (preferably with a template that includes margins) will ensure that your design will print correctly. Getting your finished flyer in time for an event only to receive a blurry, pixelated mess is heartbreaking.

Some printing processes require lower resolution. For example, you may be required to have a resolution of 100 to 150 DPI when printing a vinyl banner. This is because the banner will be seen from afar and requires less detail. Ads that you see on billboards and buses require much less resolution as well.

In short, it would be wise to use a template that has the correct margins, color mode and resolution pre-set. Visit our templates area before you start your design – or use the templates to correct any mistakes you’ve made with your design.





Category: Printing