DPI

Our pre-order department checks every order for the correct resolution of uploaded files in our design module. Often, we encounter files here that are not in the correct resolution to print in the desired format. Our advice is to provide files at 300 dpi at actual size, but as soon as we request a file at this resolution, the first reaction is often DP what?

DPI = Pixels Per Inch?

Firstly, the number of DPI we need for the print files is actually a confusing term. DPI stands for Dots per Inch, which represents the ink density of the prints per 2.54 cm coming out of our machines. For illustration, we print our prints at a minimum of 720 dpi and often even at 1440 dpi.
A better term for the DPI of your file would be Pixels Per Inch. Unfortunately, it was decided to use the abbreviation DPI for pixel density as well.

300 dpi

When checking the files, we look for 300 dpi on the uploaded image or at least 150 dpi for large format. With a lower DPI, there is a chance that the image will not be printed sharply. A much higher DPI than 300 dpi is also not necessary. However, please note that we are talking about the number of DPI at actual size. For example: When uploading an image set at actual size of 3 x 3 cm at 300 dpi, you will only get a resolution of 30 dpi for a sticker of 30 x 30 cm.

File Size and Resolution

Viewing distance is ultimately decisive for the choice of print resolution. For example, 50 dpi will be sufficient for a truck, while 300 dpi is desirable for a small handout sticker. Here is a table that can be used. But always keep in mind: the higher the resolution, the better!

0-1 meter: 300 dpi
1-3 meters: 200 dpi
5-10 meters: 50 dpi
greater than 10 meters: 30 dpi

How to Check Yourself?

In Photoshop, it is easy to determine if your file is at the correct resolution. Go to Image > Image Size (ALT-CTRL-I), turn off resampling, and enter the print size. Photoshop will then indicate the dpi. If the image is too low in resolution, my advice is to redesign the layout in this case. Set the DPI correctly (further explained below).
Something I do not recommend is converting the low DPI image to a higher DPI. This can cause the image to lose detail (i.e., pixelation). You can manually increase the DPI, but this does not change the actual resolution of the image.

Or Even Better, How to Set Up a Design Correctly?

In Photoshop, start with a new design (File > New), in the screen that appears, enter the height and width of the object to be printed + set the resolution to 300 dpi. For programs Illustrator and Indesign, the correct DPI value is automatically applied. These programs work with vectors (lines) that can be enlarged indefinitely. Note that this does not mean that if you import an existing image into these programs, it will be 300 DPI. You can check the resolution by going to Window > Info. The number of PPI (yes, the correct term is Pixels per Inch) will appear in this window.

We always check orders and quote requests
Rest assured, we always check online orders via the design tool or quote requests for the correct resolution / DPI.