Graphic File Resolution

What you need to know about sending your files to a graphic designer.

One of the biggest problems we see when working with clients is getting files at the correct resolution. Ideally vector based graphics files are best for screen printing. Photographs or raster graphics at high resolution can usually be reproduced reasonably well. Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know.


DPI
 refers to thadobe-dpichangee physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced as a real physical entity, for example printed onto paper, or displayed on a monitor. For example, a bitmap image may measure 1,000 × 1,000 pixels, a resolution of 1 megapixels. If it is labeled as 250 PPI, that is an instruction to the printer to print it at a size of 4 × 4 inches. Changing the PPI to 100 in an image editing program would tell the printer to print it at a size of 10×10 inches. However, changing the PPI value would not change the size of the image in pixels which would still be 1,000 × 1,000. An image may also be resampled to change the number of pixels and therefore the size or resolution of the image, but this is quite different from simply setting a new PPI for the file. DPI and PPI are often thought of as the same, it really depends on the software being used. For screen printing and other services BlackMarx Studio provides it best to send files with a high ppi/dpi.

Website files are a much lower resolution than an advertisement catalog or a brochure. In general web file resolution is 72 ppi/dpi. Print work requires at least 300 ppi.dpi resolution for photo images. These files can be rather large in file size.

Web files are normally either 8 bit .gif files or 24 bit jpeg files. GIF files are usually illustration files that require less colors than say a photograph. GIF files are usually smaller in size than .jpeg, however that all depends on the type of compression applied to the jpeg file. Web files are not good for screen printing. They are often only used as reference for artwork creation for printing.

When sending your graphic files to us please do so at the highest resolution that you can. You can compress them using a utility program such as stuffit or PKZip in order to email them, or burn them to a CD. In Windows you can compress these files by selecting the files and right mouse clicking on them, then choose “send to” -> “Compressed (zipped) file”.

Photographic images are adequate at 300 ppi/dpi. If you plan on adding your own copy on top of an image use a program like Photoshop, Corel Draw, Inkscape, or Gimp that will let you keep the text in a “Vector Format”. This will keep your copy crisp. Avoid resizing your images. If you have a very small image by making it larger you only distort and blur the new image size.

Digital Cameras:
If you are using a Digital Camera make sure it has enough MegaPixels for the size of the images you intend to print. A 2.1 MB camera is the minimum for printing a 12″X10″ shirt design.

Rules of thumb:

  • Images measuring 1600 x 1200 pixels, have a resolution of 2 megapixels.
  • 2 megapixels and higher are best suite for printing.
  • Don’t compress you original source files.
  • Web files are 72 ppi/dpi. Bad for printing.
  • Print files require 300 ppi/dpi resolution at the final print size.
  • Text and graphics requires a higher resolution to appear crisp 600 ppi/dpi to 1200 ppi/dpi at the final print size.

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