What Does My Printer Mean by DPI?

What Does My Printer Mean by DPI?


The image on the left is 72 dpi. On the right the image is a high resolution 300 dpi which will result in a clear, unpixelated printed image.

“My press can print over 1 million dots per inch (DPI) and you’ve given me an image with just 75 dots per inch – do you have any idea what that will look like in print?”

This was the essence of a comment I read recently.

As a local printer, we frequently have to send artwork back to the customer telling them that the resolution of their images are way too low, with a warning that the final printed image is likely to look blurry and pixilated. I usually ask where they obtained the image and oftentimes I get the answer “from a website”. Of course, if we were to proceed without informing them they would be extremely unhappy with the result and, ultimately the poor quality would reflect on us as the printer rather than on the designer of the file we were provided with.

So, what exactly constitutes a high resolution image that is suitable for commercial printing? Take a look at this article on how image resolution affects print quality.

So, why would the image look great on the screen but terrible in print? It’s all about the DPI. So next time you think about sending or using an image downloaded from a website, THINK AGAIN! Obtain a good quality original file created specifically for reproduction in print and not for the web.

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