March 28, 2011
Proper resolution of a file is critical in the sign business. A low resolution file will make a sad looking banner. Conversely, a super-high resolution file is overkill for a business card design. So, how do you know what resolution to use? As always, we are here to answer any questions you might have. If you’d rather not read, give us a call (812-477-7763) and we can walk you through the resolution requirements for your sign project.
Let’s start with a simple definition: resolution refers to the sharpness of an image. Most often, resolution is referred to as dots per inch or dpi. The question then is, what resolution should my image be?
When in doubt, aim for 300dpi. If your sign is going to be big (ie greater than 8′ in any dimension), lower that to 150dpi.
As a sign company, the ‘effective resolution’ is more important to us than the standard definition of resolution. By effective resolution, I mean: At a particular size of a sign, what resolution is effectively produced? Effective resolution is determined by two factors, dpi and image dimensions. Example: If you wanted an 18″x24″ poster, a 300dpi image measuring 18″x24″ is a much better prospect than a 300dpi image measuring 3″x4″. When scaled up to 18″x24″, your 300dpi image becomes a meager 50dpi. That probably isn’t going to look too good.
On to the pictures! This is what happens when a raster image (like a .jpg or photograph) is scaled up:
Looks pretty awful, huh? Notice the blockiness in the pic on the right? That’s what we call pixellation, and it is not a good thing. [Full disclosure, using Photoshop, I could have made it look slightly better, but I prefer these none-too-subtle scaremongering tactics.]
Resolution is critically important in producing a good-looking sign. If you have any questions about whether your files are of proper resolution for your sign project, give us a call (812-477-7763) or contact us.