Resolution

Digital photos or graphic files are made up of pixels, tiny squares of color. When printed, there are a certain number of pixels required per square inch of space. This is referred to DPI (dot per inch) in the printed world or PPI (pixels per inch) in the digital world. If you have ever tried to print a photo that you saved from Facebook, it will look pixelated if increased in size. This is because the DPI is too low, the resolution is too low. If you have a file that is 800px by 600px and you increase the size to 1600px by 1200px, it will still print pixelated because there is not enough digital information in the photo. Although the number of pixels has been increased, the information contained in those pixels is determined from the existing pixels. It is important to keep copies of any high-resolution images you use in your brand – don’t resize the originals.

Take-away tips:
  • It is important to keep copies of any high-resolution images you use in your brand – don’t resize the originals.
  • In general, printed images must be 300dpi.
  • A vector version of your logo can be scaled infinitely as it is made with mathematical commands that prevent pixelation.
  • Using large resolution images may slow down your website as they are larger files.

Colors

RGB is an acronym for the colors that make up digital images: red, green and blue.
CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black; the ink colors used in printing.
If CMYK graphics are uploaded to the web, they will often appear more of a neon color. If RGB graphics are printed, they tend to look dull.

Additionally, you may hear about PMS (Pantone Matching System) color. When a graphic is printed, it receives a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks to create all of the colors in the graphic. Because every printer can have a slightly different calibration, the look of these colors and vary slightly. Pantone developed their own inks to allow those seeking an exact color match. This means that projects using a PMS color will pass through the printer one more time to receive that specific PMS ink. This results in an exact color match and increased printing costs.

Take-away tips:
  • Printed graphics should be in CMYK color mode.
  • Digital graphics should be in RGB color mode.
  • There will always be slight color variation between printers. The only way to combat this is to use a spot color (a Pantone ink) – but remember, this will increase your printing costs.

Helpful Resources

  • Scale down images for use on the web using this free website: PicResize.com
  • Use the free templates at Canva.com to make sure your files intended for print are the appropriate size.
  • Schedule a visual branding session with Amy Rae Photography if you do not have high-resolution images for your business.