Graphic Design Terminology: Resolution

Resolution: All images have a resolution. Whether that image is displayed on a tv, computer, phone  or printed in a book, brochure or magazine. Resolution refers to the detail of the image (see image below). Images with low resolution have less detail and images with high resolution have more details. Resolution is typically measured in pixels per inch (PPI) or dot per inch (DPI). These two measurements determine  the amount of information displayed within a certain area. As a rule of thumb, screens use graphics that are 72 ppi and printed materials use 300 dpi. That’s why when you pull images off the internet and try to print them, the quality usually looks terrible. Printed materials require about 4x the amount of detail to look crisp. Check out the image below for an example of resolution. The image to the left is crisp and looses resolution to the right.

It’s 3thought’s goal to be a resource, educate and promote professional graphic design. If there’s a design term you’re not familiar with, or have more info to add to our definition, please do so in the comments section below. For more design terminology view 3thought’s ongoing “Graphic Design Terminology” page.

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