A client pays good money to have me design a brochure, invitation, poster, ad, or perhaps an annual report. Lots of hard earned dollars to make sure that a pro like me gets the job done the right way and helps to make you or your business look fantastic. Photos are sent to me to place into files, and I open them only to discover that they are “low resolution.” Well %@#&!!! Now I have to go back to the client and tell them the photo they sent is “no good.” I hate doing that because they get frustrated and annoyed. They don’t know why the photo is unusable.
“But it’s what they (the person in the photo) sent to me for you to use. So, it should be fine… right?”
“Can’t you just use it or fix it?”
“What do you mean ‘low resolution’? I don’t even know what that means.”
Perhaps you have thought this or said it in the past. Let’s take each question and answer it.
They Sent It To Me, So Its Fine…Right?
Just because he or she sent it to you and you sent it on to me doesn’t mean it will be appropriate or viable for use — especially if we are talking about a print project. A web or e-mail oriented project does not require the same resolution as a printing based project. Perhaps the person in the photo doesn’t understand what is needed? Maybe they were not aware that this was a printing project. There could be any number of reasons that someone may have just sent you a photo they have used many times in the past, or they took off of their own website thinking it was just fine.
The reality is that it isn’t just fine if it was taken from a website or Google. That may work on a web or e-mail project, but if we are putting ink to paper, the quality of a low resolution image will take a great design, all the time and money you put into it and make it look like an amateur put it together in MS Word.
Can’t you just Use It or Fix It?
The easy answer… sure. I can use it. But see above!!! Do you want to ruin a high-quality project with a blurry photo of your honoree, or keynote speaker for your event? How would that person feel when they see the result?
It can’t be ‘fixed.’ If I take a low resolution photo, and enlarge it to the size I need, that is when you get a blurry, pixelated result.
In printing terms — I can’t just add the pixels required by a wave of my magic mouse. Photoshop has its limits. The pixels have to be within the digital image to begin with.
What Does All Of This Techno High Resolution vs. Low Resolution Mean?
Let’s look at the example of an HDTV. The picture quality is what you see because there are enough pixels to provide you with that crystal clear image you enjoy so much. If you were to, say, cut the pixels by 75% imagine the kind of result you would encounter. It would look blurry and pixelated. The only ‘fix’ would be reducing the size of the TV screen by the same proportion. Now you have taken a 40 inch HDTV and made it a 10 inch HDTV. Anyone have a magnifying glass? From a printing position — well, it’s probably best to look at the example on the next page.
Andre Garabedian is a graphic designer who has been actively working in the field for a quarter of a century. Taking the time to learn the design craft as well as production, André has the expertise and background to help you understand the ins and outs of your project to ensure that the highest possibly quality is delivered and expectations are exceeded.