“What resolution should I use for printing?” Answer: 300 PPI

Resolution is a frequently asked question amongst Printivity printing customers. It is a word that is used constantly when speaking about digital files. Low resolution is a common issue, but is considered a  “design error” that can delay an order. The only way to fix this issue is to replace it with a high resolution image or file.

What does 300 PPI mean?

300 PPI means “300 pixels per inch”.

What does it mean for your file design? Well, let’s say that you’re designing a file which is 8.5” wide and 11” tall. Since every inch contains 300 pixels, that means that your 8.5”x11” file should be:

  • 2550 pixels wide (300 pixels/inch * 8.5 inches) and
  • 3300 pixels tall (300 pixels/inch * 11 inches)

We recommend that you set the resolution in your image editor (i.e. Photoshop) to 300 PPI before starting to design your file. Increasing the resolution after you start will still result in blurriness/pixellation.

300 PPI is the ideal printing resolution for quality

300 PPI is the optimal printing resolution for digital printing presses. Designing a file in lower than 300 PPI will lead to blurriness and pixellation. On the other hand, there is no point in designing at higher than 300 PPI. As far as the eye can tell, there will be no difference in print quality. Additionally, it will make your file significantly larger (making it more time-consuming to upload/download your files).

What to do if you can’t design your print files at 300 PPI resolution

We always recommend designing in 300 PPI for printing, but we also know that sometimes you just don’t have the ability to edit your designs. If you can’t design your print files at 300 PPI, there are a couple steps you need to take to see if the low resolution will work for you.

The first thing you need to do is to ask if your prints are critical on quality; in other words: can you live with lower print quality? If you can, just go ahead and print it. If you’re concerned, you can always ask your customer service representative how the lower-resolution print can do. We recommend ordering a physical proof so you can see for yourself (you can try printing it out on a desktop printer to preview it instantly). Don’t be too attached to single image or graphic. You can easily find a similar image with a higher resolution that will print with better quality.

If you have the capability to do so (or if quality is an absolute must), do is to do a redesign of your file. You would need to redesign from scratch, starting at 300 PPI. You could: redesign the entire document, redesign just the pages with photographs and illustrations (text usually isn’t affected by low resolution), or redesign just the covers (to save you time).

Get a complimentary file check from Printivity!

Before printing your file and risking being unhappy with your files resolution, receive a complimentary fe check! Every order placed with Printivity receives a file check and digital proof. We do not print your file until you have fully approve your file because we want to make sure our customers are 100% satisfied with their product. But if you are not ready to commit to an order yet, email your file to service@printivity for a complimentary file check!