From Pixels to Print – Elevating Promotional Material With Digital Printing

If you have an event, promotion, or a new product that you need to get some attention, you probably want your printed materials to look their best. Whether it’s photographs, illustrations or just your company logo or fancy fonts, you should take the time to make sure that the resolution of your images is high enough for printing. The higher the resolution, the sharper the image will appear. But how do you determine what the best resolution is? That’s where the DPI (dots per inch) and PPI (pixels per inch) come into play.

The concept of resolution is a little confusing and often misunderstood. Most people think that if a file is too big, it will not print well. While this is partly true, the size of an image does not directly correlate to its quality or printability. Instead, a more accurate measure of an image’s resolution is its pixels per inch (ppi).

In digital imaging, each pixel represents a tiny dot of color. When we see a digital image on a monitor, we actually perceive the picture as having a lot of detail. But this “detail” is not due to the number of dots, it is due to how close together these dots are. The human eye is very good at distinguishing the differences between nearby small objects. Therefore, a picture with very few pixels per inch will still be very clear at normal viewing distances. However, the same picture will become blurry at very close viewing distances.

For this reason, most people will save an image at a relatively high ppi value for use on the internet or for a computer screen. While this may not be optimal for the highest quality prints, it will provide a very clear image from most standard viewing distances.

The problem comes when preparing an image for print. Since paper is dimensioned in inches, and images are dimensioned in pixels, the ppi value must be used to scale the image size (pixels) to the paper size (inches). If the image is saved at a high ppi for the web or for a video screen, but then printed on very large paper, the pixel size will not match the physical paper size. This will result in a picture that looks fuzzy or blocky, known as pixelation.

The only way to avoid this problem is to always work with the best-quality image files possible, either from a camera or from an internet download. In general, you will achieve superior results starting with a high-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera than a cheaper digicam. This is especially true for digital cameras with larger sensors, which have a higher pixel count than digital cameras with smaller ones. While there are programs that can be used to make prints of lower-quality images, these should be used only as a last resort. Using such programs to “upsize” low-resolution images can lead to artifacts and pixelation that will detract from the overall appearance of your finished print. For more details visit