5 things you need to know before using images in your next print project

How to get the best from your images.

Resolution is key for good reproduction of images and poor image(s) will make or break your printed item. There is no doubt you will remember the early days of camera phones, the poor quality pixellation on images. They were OK for the screen, but never any good for printing. With the latest camera phones today, the image print quality will be superior to it’s predecessor but still not perfect.

If you have a ‘fuzzy/pixellated’ image it typically means it has a low resolution and not ideally suited for printing. Printed images generally need a d.p.i, (dots per inch) of 300 and often screen resolution images as you would see on your computer only have a resolution of 72 dpi. Whilst images on screen may look fine when displayed there is not enough colour detail (colour dots) to make it look sharp for printing. To overcome this try and make sure the image is in either RGB or CMYK format and that the image size does not need to be scaled up (made bigger) when printed as this will also effect the resolution.

A few things to consider to achieve the best from your images:

  • Resolution. The latest design software provides the resolution in a display panel of any linked image. This shows the actual resolution of the file, and then the actual dpi once the image has been scaled (up or down in size). This is a very good indication on how the image will print.
  • Colour. The colour space of the image will also improve/effect the output quality. Knowing the print method can help determine which format the image needs to be. Our blog understanding about colour gives more detail on this.
  • Ratio. It is important to always keep the ratio of the image as the initial file. Making an image non symmetrical can distort the output. If you need a little more height for example, then you will need to crop the width and vice versa.
  • Finer Detail. Perfecting this in your picture will greatly enhance how your image prints. You may have the resolution spot on, but it may not have a good contrast, have poor shadows and no highlights. Within software such as Photoshop there are neat little tools which will bring up the shadows, and allow the picture to be more open.
  • Paper. You have followed all the above, but what cannot also be ignored is the quality of the media your images are printed on. High quality canvas, smooth satin or high gloss photo paper will all change how the image reproduces.

At Continuum we are always happy to discuss the best options for your printing project and help our clients through every stage.

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Continuum have a combined experience of nearly 30 years of print & design knowledge. We have been helping many household names, small companies and individuals bring their ideas to life with extensive knowledge of the industry, latest technology and design trends.