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Resolution Guide

  • PC Monitor
    Most computer screens have a resolution of around 100 dpi.
    The resolution of digital cameras far exceeds that of monitors at this point in time and the resolution of television screens is usually even lower than that of computer screens.
  • For images printed on good quality paper using an offset press, the general rule is that the image resolution needs to be twice the screen ruling used to print the job. Magazines are typically printed using a 150 or 175 lpi screen ruling. This means images need to be 300 dpi.

    Please note that a slightly lower resolution such as 220 to 250 dpi is also perfectly acceptable for most people. For high quality jobs such as art books or for images containing critical patterns such as brick walls or clothing with a pattern in it, a higher resolution is sometimes recommended by the printer. Typically 400 dpi is used for such images.

  • newspaper

    Newspapers are printed at a higher speed on lower quality paper. This means the resolution requirements are not as high as those for magazines.

    Typically a resolution of 200 to 250 dpi is considered sufficient. For line art images, 400 to 600 dpi is recommended.

  • Billboard

    The larger a picture gets printed, the lower its resolution needs to be. The main reason behind this is that the viewing distance also increases.

    For large billboards, 30 dpi is often sufficient – which means that a lot of digital cameras are perfectly capable of generating such files.

  • Usually 250 dpi is considered the optimum resolution for printing high quality photos. Don’t be fooled by the fact that a photo printer has a much larger resolution, such as 720 or 1440 dpi. The printer may be able to print very small dots but it can only accurately reproduce colors by combining a large number of dots to emulate various tints. That is why a 250 dpi image offers perfect output quality on a 1000+ dpi printer.

    The professional photo lab equipment used to print thousands of images per day also has a higher resolution, typically 300 to 600 dpi. The same rule applies for pictures printed using such a machine: 200 to 250 dpi offers excellent quality.