I've tried Googling this for some time to no avail.

If I'm printing a label for a tiny bottle, and the label file dimensions are exactly the same size of the label @ 300dpi, is there any added benefit (print quality wise) having the rasterized dimensions be larger dimensions and then downsized? Or will that have exact same quality outcome as 100% exact dimensions?

I am trying to see if I need to tell someone to do a lot of extra work to redo a bunch of label files larger, or if that won't add any extra quality having them be larger and then downsizing rather than exact size. In my limited experience in the past printing things, I've always made things like 10x as large if vectorizing wasn't an option. It's weird me to have these very, very tiny little label dimensions (at 100% size), especially being rasterized, but she (the designer) is saying this is not a problem. I have a hard time believing that.

The designer never did it vectorized to begin with.

  • Lots of overthinking.. 300PPi at 100% is generally sufficient. If there is minute type (8pt or smaller) a vector format may be more beneficial though.
    – Scott
    Dec 19, 2019 at 22:14
  • As long as the rasterized image has the same resolution as that used by the RIP no upsizing should occur - 300 DPI is usually just a lazy guess used by ignorant fools though. If you have an image that's much larger it will be downsized and artifacts could occur. Usually a little bit of up/downsizing will have little visual effects and too much is better than to little.
    – papirtiger
    Dec 30, 2019 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


If you're using a layout software you would only need to be concerned about the DPI of any raster objects you use in the layout, with text and lineart being exempt from DPI issues due to their vector nature. When exporting your document as a PDF or sending it to a desktop printer, any raster objects whose effective output DPI is higher than the quality settings will be automatically resized to meet those requirements (in most cases).

However, it sounds like your designer built the file in Photoshop or GIMP - which poses a different issue entirely. While raster software is fine for making print quality photos, they aren't great for creating high-quality text without some finagling.

It's hard to give you a definite answer without knowing the actual dimensions of the label and an example of the artwork in question, so I'm going to base my answer off of some generalizations.

So is a 300DPI document good enough for a high quality print? Maybe, but probably not since it's a small label. It really depends on the nature and usage context of the artwork. In this context, tiny label = tiny text and fine detail, so 300 probably won't be enough. For reference, the software used to make printing plates for a professional press will typically rasterize outline shapes and text objects to at least 1000DPI.

If you want to avoid asking the designer to rework the document, I would recommend submitting a NON-FLATTENED working document to your printer and asking if they think that it will print okay before proceeding. Remember to include any fonts used with the document. If I were in your position I would just skip this and ask the designer to rebuild it in proper layout software like InDesign.

(EDIT: There's further issues about rasterizing outlines and text with regards to the Trapping process in a commercial print environment that I've addressed in the comments. Also - since I last had to deal with this issue, Adobe changed the Photoshop PDF export to not rasterize text layers in the resulting document. This mitigates pretty much all of my concerns about type quality, so theoretically you can get away with using Photoshop to develop print documents... but I doubt you're going to find a printer who would be happy about it. Just don't do it.)

  • Hey thanks for your answer -- let me add some clarifying details. The labels are 6 inches wide and 0.75 inches tall. The text is actually NOT rasterized (it's a type layer). There are some elements though that make up the layout which are raster. I'm sure they are 300dpi assets, but they're not smart objects so they can't be made bigger, they're exactly the correct size. Also, they used photoshop, and also this is going to a professional printer. I tried to ask them but after 2 people they were both sales people and quite unknowledgable
    – Tallboy
    Dec 18, 2019 at 22:33
  • Also im not sure if it helps but here is the spec i.imgur.com/RSq1KmH.png
    – Tallboy
    Dec 18, 2019 at 22:36
  • If the sales staff is unwilling to try and get the answers for you, ask them to let you speak with someone on the prepress team - preferably the team lead or manager. Prepress is the group in the print shop that manages file ingres, proofing, and plate production. If the sales team were doing their job correctly, this would be who they'd be going to for answers to your question. Whoever you end up speaking with, ask them to dispense with the "be polite to the client" crap and give you an truly honest answer. I guarantee they will express some level of discomfort with the PSD. Dec 19, 2019 at 4:38
  • Photoshop rasterizes the text on output, even if you save a photoshop PDF. You should never depend on photoshop to produce high quality text. Dec 19, 2019 at 4:45
  • Another reason to be wary of submitting a completely raster document to a printer is trapping. Trapping is the process by which the plating software (called the RIP) adjusts certain objects in the document to compensate for registration/alignment issues between the color chanels on press. This can only be done for vector and text objects, raster items will remain untouched. If you're printing a single color document, or if you have no overlapping objects, this issue goes away. Dec 19, 2019 at 5:04

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