Resolution and compression

The terms resolution and compression might not sound unfamiliar to you. These terms are connected to the quality and sharpness of your picture. What do these terms mean and what are they good for? That's what this blog is all about.



For starters, what is resolution? Resolution is generally understood as a term for measuring the number of pixels on your screen. The measurement that is used for this is called "dot per inch" (dpi). The higher the dpi the sharper and higher the quality of the picture. However, changing the dpi also causes the picture to shrink or grow. The general amount of dpi that we recommend for printing, is at least 150dpi. Even more so, when you want to order a product that requires a larger design, such as canvas prints and pull-up banners. This doesn't mean that you can't upgrade the dpi. However, the picture will usually shrink when changed to, for example, 300dpi. Therefore, we suggest that you use a picture with 300dpi for smaller products such as postcards and flyers and a 150dpi for larger products. You can set your picture to have a dpi higher than 300, but this doesn't do much. The reason is, that in printing, you don't notice a difference in the quality of your picture by doing so.

As mentioned before, your picture is going to shrink when adjusting the dpi. However, this is only the case if the dpi was lower than what you changed it to. For instance, you have a picture that is 72dpi and you change it to 300dpi. In this case, your picture will shrink and the other way around, but it will become larger instead. Take a look at the example below.




A 72dpi picture



A 300dpi picture

Tip: You can always upgrade the dpi without losing resolution, but lowering the dpi will cause a loss of dpi so keep this in mind!



What about compression? The literal definition of compression is: "the act of pressing something into a smaller space or putting pressure on it from different sides until it gets smaller." In printing terms, it means the same. It is used to save space and have a print file take less disk space than normal. Usually, jpg files are used for this, but it's not entirely without risk.

The reason is, that higher compression also causes the picture to be lower quality. As the definition suggests, to save space something is pressed into a smaller space, which in this case, refers to pixels being pressed together due to which the quality lowers. We see this regularly in jpg files so be careful with it! Especially, because you can't change the compression of a file anymore after you saved it.

So we recommend you follow these tips when creating a picture meant for printing. Concluding, a minimum of 150dpi for larger print products, 300dpi for smaller print products, and save high-quality jpg files. That way we can ensure your smile!


For all your printed matters you can contact us.

We print, you smile!