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The difference between low and high resolution files

By July 14, 2016 November 13th, 2018 No Comments

The difference between low and high resolution files

Have you ever been asked to provide a high resolution version of a logo or an image and you are not sure what that means? Understanding the difference between low and high resolution files is simpler than you might think.

We are now in July and many of our NFP clients are starting to think about the production of this year’s Annual Report. It’s the time to start writing about your organisation’s performance across the various programs that you deliver and showcasing the social impact of your programs. It’s time to tell your supporters, clients and staff how hard you’ve all been working to achieve a social outcome.

Whether your annual report is a digital or print piece, you will be asked to provide low or high resolution files. It’s essential that your images don’t undermine the message of your Annual Report. In this blog post we will provide you with a simple guide to identify which files will suit your report best.

Low resolution files = files used for web

Low resolution files are used in web due to their ability to compress as much information as possible into a single dot. This single dot is what we call a pixel. Pixel is an abbreviation for picture element.

Most computer screens render images at 72 DPI (Dots Per Inch), which means that the screen only needs to read 72 dots of information every inch in order to display an image, regardless of the size of the monitor.

Low resolution files are the best files to use in web because it reduces the loading process of your website. The less information the browser has to read, the quicker it can display the information to the user. That is why it is important to use file formats that can compress a lot of information without compromising the quality of the image.

The most common file formats for web are .JPEG, .PNG and .GIF. All of these formats have their own compression system to ensure that images are easy to use.

As a general rule, any image under 1MB is only suitable for web.

High resolution files = files used for print

Printing processes require high resolution files to create crisp and sharp lines and images. In order to do that, the amount of information per dot needs to be 300 DPI or higher. Therefore, any logos or images inside a word document are not suitable for printing purposes.

If your designer is asking for high resolution files, you should look for files such as .EPS, .AI or .TIFF.

As a general rule, any photos taken with a smart phone or downloaded from Google are not suitable for printing.

Quick summary

Low Resolution Files
  • Files extensions like .JPEG, .PNG and .GIF
  • Images under 1MB
  • Images inside a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation
  • Images taken with a smart phone
High Resolution Files
  • Files extensions like .EPS, .AI or .TIFF
  • Images bigger than 3MB
  • Images taken with SLR Cameras