Image Resolution on Banners

In the past we have received many artworks with imagery taken straight from websites… and particularly small imagery at that! As a young designer, I used to scoff at the glaringly obvious mistake. As I have gotten older (just a little), I now realise that it is only through my designery education that I know what ‘resolution’ is, and I don’t mean a solution to a problem… or do I?

‘Resolution’ is the number of dots per given area – this has become more widely educated with digital cameras and their ’8.2 mega-pixels resolution’. The most common given area is inches and reffered to as ‘dpi’ (dots per inch). I could also go into pixels per inch to appease my colleague Ian, but I think would just confuse the issue, sorry Ian.

This brings us to the main difference between images used for the web and for print;

  • Print imagery = 300 dpi
  • Web imagery = 72 dpi

I could go into the reasons for this but all you need to remember is web imagery needs to be small for data transfer reasons. This brings me to the next lesson, generally web imagery is not good for large-format printing. Aside from the copyright issue, the resolution would be too small to enlarge the image enough to print on a banner. Take the following example…

Banner Printer Image from the Venture Banners website

Banner Printer Image from the Venture Banners Website

Here we have an image which has been taken from our website, VentureBanners.co.uk (http://www.venturebanners.co.uk). This is our eye-catching image which explains in one what we do – we print banners and one of our clients just happens to be Frankie & Benny’s restaurants, for those of you that recognise the branding.

Now, I have an idea, I want to use that image on my website and have it on a banner so that I can advertise to passing traffic (pedestrian and vehicular, alike). So I can just use the same image on my website, right? Wrong!

Banner Printer Image Enlarged

Banner Printer Image Enlarged

Take a look at the next image. This just shows the pitfalls of web imagery. As you can see the image is very blocky or ‘pixelated’ as we designery folk say.

Click here to view the full PDF of the final artwork of our amazingly designed banner, and this is only at 10% of the final artwork size, so imagine what it would look like enlarged 10-fold! It’s not a good look.

A while ago we did have one image that someone wanted printed on a banner and we calculated that each pixel would be over a foot in height and width – which would be fine, if viewed from over a mile away.

Now, I could go into the virtues of infinitely scalable vectors, but I’ll save that for another time, unless you are really keen – let me know.

Remember, we are always here for any artwork help, just a telephone call or email ([email protected]) away. There are also plenty of imagery resource websites out there from which you can purchase images that are suitable for large format printing, our favourite being iStockPhoto.com. Please don’t be scared to contact us, we are always full of helpful advice.

P.S. Please excuse the poor design on the banner, it was only to prove a point and not to demonstrate our design capabilities… honest.

About Wayne

The lead designer/developer, I have been designing and building websites since 1997. The ability to build database driven websites whilst still keeping the design as the main focus has proven invaluable in getting Venture Banners to it's current, heady status.
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