The 6 Questions to Ask Yourself About DPI for Printing
A basic printer is sufficient for internal office work, such as printing memos and employee notices.
Customer-facing projects, however, need to be printed with far more care. Crisp, vivid images are impossible without high DPI printers. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about DPI for printing.
1. What Is DPI in Printing?
Printers work by melting or spraying dots of ink on paper. DPI measures the dots per inch. For example, a 500 dpi printer compresses 500 dots vertically and 500 dots horizontally into each square inch. Lopsided measurements are also possible, so you might also see something like 500 by 1200 dpi.
If you increase the DPI, you typically increase the image sharpness and quality. However, dot sizes aren’t standard. So, one printer’s 600 dpi print might look better than another printer’s 1000 dpi print.
2. What Is PPI?
DPI and PPI are often used interchangeably, but there are slight differences. PPI, or pixels per inch, typically refers to digital images, while DPI is specifically used for printed pages.
High PPI images tend to be higher-quality.
3. Is Optimized DPI Important?
As we mentioned above, dots sizes are set by the manufacturer. Altering the dots’ size or shape can dramatically affect print quality.
Another way to affect the quality is to use an optimized DPI printing method. In this strategy, the paper moves slowly through the printer so the ink dots overlap. Technically, this doesn’t change the resolution, but it can make the image appear richer and more brilliant.
4. Does the Image Resolution Matter?
Before you print your image, look at the initial resolution. A high-resolution image gives the printer more detail to work with.
An image that’s 150 dpi or less is considered low-resolution. This image might look fine online where 72 dpi is standard, but it will be blurry or distorted once it’s printed. The best way to achieve a great final print is to start with a high-quality image.
5. What DPI Should You Aim For?
The necessary DPI for print work depends on what you’re doing. 300 dpi is sufficient for a simple flyer or business letter. A professional photographer, however, may not want to consider anything below 1200 dpi.
If people are not going to view your prints close-up, you can get away with a lower DPI. A billboard may only be 20 dpi.
6. What Materials Are Necessary?
DPI is an important metric, but it’s not the only factor that affects resolution. The type of ink and paper you use also makes a difference. For instance, inexpensive copy paper is fine if you’re printing work schedules but will appear inelegant if you’re creating invitations to the company fundraising gala.
Duggal Visual Solutions has state-of-the-art printers capable of producing photographic prints with an incredible 6,100 dpi.