View Full Version : Designing graphics for printing

09-19-2003, 10:48 AM

I am currently working on a web site for a client of mine and he is very happy with the lay-out so far. He's even so happy that he want's me to design a brochure and a poster (A3/ A2) for him as well.

The problem is that I'm a typical web design and I know nothing about printing quality, dpi etc. I'm not shure whether this is the right forum to ask but can someone give me some tips or links to tutorials on this topic? How do I convert my jpg's for the web into images that are suitable for large-scale printing?

Thank you very much!


PS if you need aditional information, please let me know!

09-19-2003, 12:26 PM
For an A3/A2 poster, you'll need to create the files in a reasonably high resolution.

What matters the most is the print quality, and nothing is much better than a good colour laser printer, or a photoprinter - these however are extremely expensive, so you'll be better off getting it done by professionals from the industry. Now, depending on the print company, the resolution required will differ, so you'll need to get in touch with them to find out what kind of resolution they will require to create a poster of x size, as print companies do differ slightly with what they need.

There are many of them around, and if you look in the business directories, you'll easily find one up that is near you, from which you can retrieve more accurate sizes.


09-19-2003, 02:16 PM
Thanks for your reply,

the poster will indeed be printed by a professional company. My job will only be the design of the poster.

I still got a question about your reply. You say that I need a reasonably high resolution to print A2/A3. The website is created for a resolution of 1024x786. What do you consider a reasonable resolution for printing A2/ A3 and more important: how do I resize (enlarge) my design without the graphics becoming to edged, pixalated (don't know the correct english word, sorry).

I use The Gimp for my graphics.

Thanx! Michiel

09-19-2003, 02:34 PM
The resolution you have used shouldn't be a problem; printing companies can easily blow up images to any size without any issues with having images become pixelated, or blurred.

Size for printing in A3: w3508px x h4961px

You'll have to consult the printing company for the A2 size, as I don't have it at hand.


09-19-2003, 05:15 PM
You wll have to change the colors from rgb to cmyk and have a resolution of at least 300 dpi, more likely 600 dpi is what the printer will recommend.

If you are doing this in Photoshop, there is a plug-in called Genuine Fractals that can change the resolution for you pretty well without creating jagged edges.

If you do not have Genuine Fractals available to you, the way I have been shown how to do it is to :

1 change the image to cmyk color
2 adjust the image size to double the size you actually want it (2 x A3/A2) and at the same time you set the dpi to double what you need (if you need 600dpi for the printer, set it to 1200)
3 Then resize the image again down to the size you need at the dpi you need.



09-19-2003, 05:55 PM
Alright, I work for a Print company, so here's some advice:

1) If it's going to be screen printing, the highest lines per inch will be 150 -- so essentially, you'll need only 110dpi to 300dpi, depending on the final size of the image. If it's digital, it depends on the output of the printer, but building at 300dpi would be safe.

2) You should not size 'up' your graphics. This will, as people have said, cause blurring. If you're graphics are at 72 dpi, and you size them up for printing, they will come out like hell. You need original files, and build them at 300dpi. They won't go larger, and then you can size them down later if you need. It may seem like it's ok with filters -- but if you test print out something, any error you have will be magnified.

3) If you are going to 'swing' you're color over to CMYK, contact the printer you will use and ask them their specific color settings. If you cannot accomplish this in GIMP, then give them the raw RGB files, and let them swing it. Us print designers have specific 'color gamuts' that transfer our RGB files to CMYK for printing, and they vary depending on the type of printing we are using. If you swing your color to your CMYK, you may lose quality if your gamut (or range of color) is much smaller than the final printing process.

4) Most print shops do not like just rasterized files (such as jpegs). We prefer Tiffs, Photoshop files, rasterized EPS files. Any text (that does not have design elements like photoshop techniques) should be done in a vector art program (such as illustrator, freehand, corel, etc.). To combine the two, you can do that in the vector program, or for professional version, use Quark Xpress or InDesign. The vector text is important -- especially when using digital. The quality is largely improved.

So, I would recommend finding the size of the print (inch x inch) and start rebuilding your layout at 300dpi (or less if it's screen print) so that it prints correctly. Build your files at RGB -- but remember that some colors will not print accurately CMYK. RGB sees 13% of visual light and CMYK sees 7% of visual light. Colors, especially bright blues and reds, cannot be accomplished through just CMYK alone. Colors that are PMS (Pantone colors) can though.

You can view some info about color at http://www.pantone.com

Otherwise, I don't have any resources to give you. Much of this is vastly different than the web, and print designers know little of the web for that matter, so not much that is highly professional online. Should you want to talk about this further, send me a PM, and you can call me here at work. We can talk about how you should build your files more in detail.

09-20-2003, 07:51 PM
Thanx very much for your replies ...

I'm gonna try some stuff and I'll contact a printing business! If I run inro any more problems I'll get back to you!

Cheers, Michiel