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. Here's a quick guide on what you need to know.


If you are working with website files then they require a much lower resolution than an advertisement, catalog or a brochure. In general web file resolution is 72dpi, or dots per inch. Print work requires at least 300dpi 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.


If you are doing a high-end print job send your graphic files to your designer 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.


Photographic images are adequate at 300dpi, however text at 300dpi is less than crisp, so if you plan on adding your own copy on top of an image use a program like Photoshop 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 decrease the resolution at the new image size.


Digital Cameras:

If you are using a Digital Camera make sure it has enough Mega Pixels for the size of the images you intend to print. A 2.1 MB camera is adequate for 4 by 6 shots. SLR Cameras in the range of 8 MB are capable of printing out a hi-res image at 8 by 10 inches. Image quality on units like this are superior to that of a smaller point and shoot also. Digital images do require some post processing ( levels / saturation / sharpness), however the results can be impressive.


Rules of thumb:

  • Don't compress you original source files
  • Web files are 72 dpi
  • Print files require 300 dpi resolution
  • Text in images requires a higher resolution to appear crisp 600dpi to 1200dpi
Chicago Graphic Design