What is image resolution?
In photography and graphic design, resolution is the clarity of an image or video. It is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi), known as pixels per inch (ppi) in digital contexts. The higher the resolution, the higher level of sharpness and detail you should be able to see. A high-resolution image or video will typically be more appealing than a low-resolution one.
What makes a photo or graphic high-resolution?
Dimensions refer to the width and height of an image, typically measured in pixels. When the dimensions of an image are high, the number of pixels and resolution are both likely to be as well.
What is a raster image?
A raster file is made up of a grid of pixels. When you zoom in, you will eventually see the individual pixels that make up its image. Raster files are often photos converted from uncompressed, raw camera image data, but they can be digitally designed graphics as well.
The following are raster image file types:
- .jpeg: stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Common for high-resolution photography and lower-resolution web publishing, it includes images under the extensions of .jpg, .jpeg, .jpe, .jif, .jfif, and .jfi.
- .png: Portable Network Graphics are valued for their transparent backgrounds. However, .png files should be used sparingly on the web due to their higher image size than similarly-scaled .jpegs. The best uses of .pngs include logos and online charts or graphics.
- .tiff: including files with .tif extensions, Tag Image File Format is widely preferred by photographers. These files tend to have large sizes and professional-quality detail, making them ideal for printable photos or scans. A .tiff file can even become a container to store several smaller .jpgs.
- .gif: since it contains collections of related images, Graphics Interchange Format is amazing for displaying short, looping videos online without the need for any video file, such as a .mp4 or .mov. The downside is that they display a more limited range of colors compared to the preceding file types.
.pngs and .tiffs are lossless, unlike lossy raster images such as .jpegs and .gifs.
Lossless data compression is a class of algorithms that allows all the original data to be reconstructed from the compressed data, preserving all the information within the image. This is important for images that will be edited or printed because any loss of information can result in noticeably blurry or pixelated changes.
What is a vector image?
Vector graphics are composed of mathematical formulas that use points and lines on a grid. These points are then connected by lines and curves to create a final image.
Vector files are usually made in software programs like Adobe Illustrator or InDesign. If set up correctly, they have infinite resolution, meaning that they can be scaled to any size without losing quality.
The following are vector image file types:
- .ai: an abbreviation for Adobe Illustrator. This extension is best used for smaller graphic elements such as logos that are part of larger compositions.
- .eps: stands for Encapsulated PostScript, an older type of file that doesn’t allow for the same transparency settings as a current Adobe Illustrator file does.
- .svg: Scalable Vector Graphics use the markup language XML to translate an image into visual form.
- .pdf: intended for versatile documents, Portable Document Format is ever-present in today’s business landscape.
If possible, try to get your creative assets directly from reputable photographers, designers, or stock image websites. If that is not an option, consider several questions:
- Has the image been resized before? If some of its resolution has been lost, you may not be able to recover it, even by increasing its size again.
- Was it taken from social media? To ensure quick loading times and best fit their user interface, social media websites often lower image quality automatically.
- Was it captured as a screenshot? Screen display sizes are often lower-quality than original files.
So, are higher-resolution or lower-resolution images better to use?
An image’s perfect resolution and file type depend on its purpose.
Although higher-resolution images tend to have better quality, they take up more space and take longer to load. For this reason, you’ll need to choose the right resolution for your situation.
If you just post a photo or graphic to a website, you won’t need an extremely high-resolution raster or vector image, since it will take too long to load due to its file size; a small JPG or PNG ranging from 72 dpi (referred to as “screen resolution”) up to 300dpi will do.
In addition, vector files uploaded to websites can be edited with malicious code. Some vector file formats are also not supported by all web browsers, which could cause problems for visitors to your site.
However, if you are trying to display the same photo at a large size, print it onto any surface, or share it with an artist for a custom commission, you will need a higher-resolution image. This may be a 300-dpi JPG, PNG, or TIFF — or any vector file — since any of these choices can result in an excellent final product.
What are some ways to find the resolution of an image?
You can easily find the resolution of an image on a Mac or MacBook by following these steps:
- Open the image you want to check in the Preview app.
- Click on the “Tools” menu in the menu bar, and select “Show Inspector” or use the keyboard shortcut “Command + I”.
- In the Inspector window that appears, select the “General” tab.
- Look for the “Resolution” section. Here, you will see the image’s resolution in pixels per inch (ppi).
In Microsoft Windows
You can find the resolution of an image on a Windows computer by following these steps:
- Open the folder where the image is saved.
- Right-click on the image file and select “Properties” from the context menu.
- In the Properties window that appears, click on the “Details” tab.
- Scroll down to the “Image” section, and you will see the image’s resolution in pixels.
How can knowledge of image resolution inform your overall approach to marketing?
It’s also important to clarify the abstract goals you hope to achieve as a company.
Here is how small business owners can clarify their marketing goals:
- Define your target audience: Just as you would identify whether people will see your images through specific types of digital or print media, identify their personal characteristics to communicate with them most effectively. Consider demographics such as age, gender, location, income, and interests.
- Identify key differentiators: When it comes to image choices, each type of file and level of resolution has its own costs and benefits; your job is to maximize the benefits. More importantly, you’ll want to determine the greatest benefits your entire range of services offers customers. Consider what makes them unique and how they solve difficult problems.
- Set specific and measurable goals: Determine exactly what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts. Similarly to how you would measure dpi and dimensions, set definite benchmarks and projected metrics for increasing sales, generating leads, improving brand awareness, or increasing website traffic.
- Develop a marketing strategy: Based on your target audience and key benefits, develop a marketing strategy that outlines how you will reach your goals and implement it. This can involve social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, advertising, and other tactics that incorporate images optimized for each channel.
- Monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor your progress toward your marketing goals and adjust your strategy as needed. Use analytics and customer feedback to make informed decisions about your graphics, content writing, and general marketing approach.
In the same way that the sizes and formats of images often need to change, your business’ broader processes may require transformations, too.
With so many choices to make in marketing, finding clarity can be difficult.
If you entrust your business to our studio, we can seamlessly handle them for you with a money-back guarantee. Contact us today for visually-minded marketing assistance.