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I have a design resolution for web and print dilemma. We use Sitefinity for our new web platform which includes a newsletter module for mass mailings for which I designed a header and a footer with the only criteria that it had to be site agnostic and 600 pixels wide. Easy right? Using both illustrator (for graphics), Indesign (there is a lot of text in footer)and PhotoShop I kicked out many resolutions (72 dpi, 150 dpi, etc.). None met what they needed for print (yes it needs to look clear in Microsoft Outlook and print at a high dpi). Never mind that outlook will downgrade graphics or that for a web based email dpi doesn't matter.

augh! How should I handle this to get the size and resolution they demand?

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  • Welcome to GD.SE! Can you do two versions? I'm not sure I fully understand this, but maybe have the newsletter linking to a PDF that can properly print? – curious Feb 23 '20 at 18:16
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You are right, resolution (the ppi) is ignored in browsers and email clients. It's irrelevant. All that matters for images on the web or screens is the pixel dimensions.

In print however, it's a totally different story. What you need to know is the size at which the image will be physically reproduced in inches.

So, let's say you have an image which is to be reproduced at a physical size of 6' x 4' on a sheet of paper.

The image you need should be 300*6 (1800px) by 300*4 (1200px). The PPI should be set to 300.

Resampling small images up to a higher resolution (i.e. more pixels) is not advisable. It will cause degradation in image quality. You should really start with the highest resolution image you have, and scale downwards or crop if necessary.

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  • Thanks for those ideas I’ll try it. However, they are so focused on the 600 pixel width and even though I’ve asked them about using code to size it to that dimensions so they could keep the resolution I feel as though I’m talking in circles and they aren’t on the same plane of concept. Augh! Another issue is that the footer they asked for has a lot of ADA issues — text, etc. I have offered to set up a automatic css/HTML, etc. so the text remains text and not embedded as a part of the graphics. As the site they are creating hasn’t been shared with me I’m feeling very stuck in a catch-22. – Cheryl Franklin Feb 23 '20 at 14:57
  • @CherylFranklin Images for print and the web should really be treated entirely differently. Sadly, there isn't a one-size-fits all solution. It's generally not a good idea to scale raster images down for the web using CSS, because they often look horrible. An image at the actual size (1:1) will always look better on a screen. – Billy Kerr Feb 23 '20 at 15:05
  • Thanks Billy. Any idea of how to explain this to my client? I’m at a loss honestly as they don’t get the print vs. web as two separate issues. – Cheryl Franklin Feb 23 '20 at 15:17
  • @CherylFranklin Quite frankly, I'd simply give them my advice, tell them "that's the way it's gonna be" otherwise you can't be held responsible for the ensuing disaster, and leave it at that. If they choose to ignore it, that's their problem, and they must suffer the consequences. If they want to print a low res 600px wide web image at a larger size, just let them try. You can then derive some extra special enjoyment from your told-you-so moment. – Billy Kerr Feb 23 '20 at 16:10

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