DPI and the Printed Size of your Image

Probably the most confusing aspect of getting your artwork printed onto fabric and paper is the issue of DPI, or Dots Per Inch, which can have a huge effect on your print outcome.

Your image has a particular dpi, but when you get it printed, that image, no matter what it’s actual dpi, can be printed at any dpi. This effectively scales the image to different sizes; it can also affect print quality, too. The more dots per inch there are in your image, and the more dots per inch there are for your print, the higher quality the outcome will be.

Often, the problem people encounter is envisaging how big or small their image will look when it is printed at a particular dpi.

Here are some simple rules about DPI:

  1. If the dpi of your image and the dpi of your print are the same, your image will remain the same size when printed.
  2. If the dpi of your image is less than the dpi of your print, your image will appear smaller when printed; e.g. a 150dpi image printed at 300dpi will be printed at half its original size.
  3. If the dpi of your image is more than the dpi of your print, your image will appear bigger when printed; e.g. a 300dpi image printed at 150dpi will be printed at twice its original size.

Our print preview is designed to help you see what effect different settings for the dpi of your print will have on the scale, and printed outcome of your image.

If you can not see the preview (it is quite memory intensive and currently does not work on all platforms, something we are working on), or if you are having trouble working out what print dpi to select, please contact us, we will be happy to email you your print preview or offer advice.

Something else to be aware of: sometimes resolution is expressed as dots per centimetre rather than dots per inch. We don’t use dpc, but sometimes we receive images from you where the resolution is set as dots per centimetre.