Small Business By Design

Advice for small businesses. Inspiration for designers.

Just Grab That Image Off My Website…

with one comment

Ahh the famous phrase used by clients everywhere. A friend of mine passed on this silly cartoon that finds humor in this phrase often-uttered by my print clients. It inspired me to write a little explanation of exactly why using web images isn’t a good practice. Bear with me, this one might take a second…


All photographic images (including all website images) are created of hundreds of pixels. These pixels are incredibly small and should be completely invisible to the naked eye when you are viewing an image at full size. However, if you were to zoom in very closely on a digital image you could see each pixel and how each one’s color slowly shifts to provide optical illusions of smooth color transitions that make up your photo.

Back to the moral of the cartoon. The bottom line of this issue is that web images are created in 72 or 96dpi (because web browsers view at this resolution) and print images are created in 300dpi. When a print designer is asked to take an image from a website, it must be scaled up from 72dpi to 300dpi, which essentially means each pixel will be enlarged to three times its original size. This creates a “pixelization” effect. Pixelation appears because the pixels that make up the image have been enlarged so much that you are now actually starting to see each one individually and the smooth optical illusion breaks down. The information in the image has essentially been stretched to such a degree that there are now gaps, and no amount of “photoshopping” can supplement this lost information. Because the pixels are now over-sized, pixelated images will appear blurry in print, which does very little to enforce the professionalism of your organization.

My recommendation to all individuals who are involved in coordination of print design is to always make sure you always keep a copy of the native, high resolution image files on your hard drive or on a back-up disc. This way, when your you or your designer needs high-resolution images, you will be able to access them quickly and easily.


Written by strongdesignstudios

November 12, 2008 at 2:31 am

One Response

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  1. It happens every day, it’s true!
    People think that the photoshop makes miracles even with an image of 2 pixels! 🙂 incredible but true…

    Rui Vieira

    November 12, 2008 at 7:35 pm

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