Resolution: Screen vs. Print

Low resolution photo

Why does she look like this in print?

High resolution photo

She looks great on the website.

Resolving the Resolution Question

Novice designers are often miffed by the way a website photo renders in print. Fact is what looks great on your computer monitor may appear small and blurry in print. It’s simply a matter of resolution.

Resolution essentially means the number of dots that make up your image. Computer monitor images simply contain less dots in an inch of viewing area than print images do. A computer screen typically displays photos at 72 dots per inch and looks fine. Printers usually produce images 300 dots per inch or greater. It’s a bit of math here, but we’ll try to make sense of it. If we try to print that 72dpi image at the same size it blurs since there simply aren’t enough dots to create a sharp image.

So when preparing files for print always be sure to design at 300dpi or greater. Then your images will print sharply.