Understanding image resolution

It’s all starting to feel a little more real now the new year is out of the way and many of you are starting to think about developing your yearbook designs which is fab! If you’ve been chatting to us about your design, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases ‘high resolution’ and ‘print quality’ bandied around quite a bit – that’s because we want you to be amazed with the finished quality of your book. Getting your head around image resolutions and why they actually make a difference can be a little tricky so here is a little overview to explain more 🙂

Put in simple terms, the quality of your image is tied to the resolution. Every image you upload is created from lots of tiny dots, each capturing a little piece of the overall image. The greater the DPI (dots per inch) the more detail you’ll capture in your images.  If you have a low resolution image (anything >150dpi), you’ll find it looks a little pixelated, blurry and lacking in detail. With higher resolution images (300dpi), there is more information stored giving you a crisper, more defined image (and a bigger smile when you open your books) which is better for everybody! Whilst you’re uploading images, for profiles, your cover, collages etc, you’ll notice resolution warnings and these are here to help 🙂

image resolution

You might find an image and think ‘this looks spot on’ and then be a little surprised when we ask for a higher resolution version. This is because print resolution is generally much larger than screen resolution, take at look at this if you don’t believe me 🙂 quite a difference right?

So now we have a bit of an understanding about resolutions, lets see it in action! Lets say I want to make my yearbook cover using our logo…

AYB Logo

 

The logo looks fine here right? Nice and clear and no problems. As we start to enlarge this towards print resolution, you’ll see the edges have started to get a little pixelated and it’s all starting to look a little fuzzy  😦 AYB Logo1

You wouldn’t be pleased if your books arrived looking less than perfect and nor would we be, so as a general rule for logos, you’ll need to chat to a staff member- usually anything you’ll find online is teeny-tiny and sadly there is no magical way to make transform them into beautiful high quality images for you. As you collect photos you’ll also notice varying degrees of quality; this is normal and this is due to a lot of factors such as improved camera technology (mobile phones of yesteryears had pretty bad cameras!), whether you’ve got the original camera file or scanned printed photos etc. If the image isn’t swamping your laptop screen it’s probably going to be low resolution and unsuitable for printing on a larger scale i.e. as your cover/ endpapers/double page photos or as a custom background. The key is to look at your image objectively and check:

  • clarity– does the image look sharp and clear?
  • source– where has this image come from? Could I find a better version from somewhere else?
  • size– what are the dimensions of the image? Check our guides to covers and pages for more info 🙂

I hope this helps a little and let us know if you have any questions. We’ll be holding a yearbook photography workshop soon to help you get the most out of your yearbooks so keep in touch using our online chat, facebook and twitter 🙂

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