The resolution of the artwork is specified in dpi (dots per inch) and decisively determines the print quality of a product. Generally it can be said that the higher the dpi number, the better the print quality. In contrast, the print result will be pixelated and blurred with too low dpi values.
Which resolution do my artwork files require?
Please create your artwork files with the respectively indicated resolution. The resolution is specified in the "Artwork information" section on the product pages in our online shop.
We generally recommend 300 dpi in original size for most printed products – both for the artwork file and incorporated images.
The specified value can deviate especially with large-format products: This is because the larger the distance between an image and its observer, the smaller the resolution may be.
Poster should be created with at least 200 dpi in original size and advertising systems such as displays, banners, flags, plots, cutout standup displays, PVC tarpaulins, clip frames should be created with at least 150 dpi in original size. Please observe the respective information on the product pages in our online shop.
Why is the dpi number so important for printing?
A digital image has a limited number of pixels. In connection with the size of the image, this results in the resolution which is indicated in dpi (dots per inch). In terms of printing, you can say: The more dpi a file has, the sharper the print result will be.
Example: An artwork file in A4 format (210 x 297 mm) with a resolution of 300 dpi is created in Photoshop. Then, two images showing the same design are dragged into the document. The only difference: one image has a resolution of 300 dpi and the other image has a resolution of 72 dpi.
The 72-dpi-image is displayed smaller in the artwork file than the 300-dpi-image (see the following illustration right and left). Reason for the difference in size: The two images adapt to the 300 dpi default of the artwork file. The image with the 300 dpi resolution therefore remains in its original size. On the other hand, the 72 dpi image will "shrink" so that the resolution corresponds to the required 300 dpi.
The 72 dpi image is displayed smaller in the artwork file.
The fact that the 72 dpi image has fewer pixels becomes even more apparent when it is scaled – i.e., enlarged – in the artwork file to the same size as the 300 dpi image (see right part of the illustration). Now, the 72 dpi image looks pixelated and blurred. This effect can be intensified by zooming in even further.
When enlarging the 72 dpi image, it appears pixelated and blurred.
How do you scale (up) an image without losses?
For an image to be scaled up or "enlarged" without loss during artwork creation and at the same time retain its good resolution, it must be of sufficiently high quality, i.e. with a high pixel aspect ratio.
How can I check whether the resolution of my images is sufficient?
Simple check with free Adobe Acrobat Reader
Open your PDF artwork with the free Adobe Reader and enlarge the view of the document to 400 %. View your entire artwork file piece by piece. If individual images or design elements appear pixelated and blurred, their resolution is too low.
If your artwork is in JPG or TIFF format, you can open it with a conventional photo viewer and examine it as described.
In the following example, you can see that the resolution of the upper illustration is too low – here, the image section appears pixelated when zooming in to 400 %.
Checking the resolution of individual images by zooming in to 400 %
Detailed check with Adobe Acrobat Pro
With Adobe Acrobat Pro, the illustrations contained in the artwork can be examined in even greater detail. To do this, click "Tools" > "Print Production" in the programme and then select "Preflight" in the window on the right. Under "PDF analysis" you will find the line "Lists page objects, grouped by type of object". Select the line and click "Analyze" in the Preflight window at the bottom right.
Preflight tool of Adobe Acrobat Pro: display resolution of individual images
Now your artwork is being analysed. The result list then contains one or more lines that begin with "resolution". These already tell you which dpi or ppi value range is contained in your artwork file.
Expand all lines that contain value ranges that are lower than the dpi number required for your product. By clicking on the individual lines/images, the "Show" field appears on the right. This allows you to display the individual illustrations in your PDF document (blue dashed frame). Alternatively, you can also select "show in snap" at the bottom left and have a preview of the individual images displayed.
Preflight tool of Adobe Acrobat Pro: resolution of different illustrations in the print PDF