Can anyone please help me with the following? I am a low-level dabbler, but these things have been nagging at me for years. I know I've been doing everything the hard way, and my hope is that knowing these answers will help me to continue enjoying playing with graphics.

What are the effects of doing the following?

  1. creating a high resolution image to use on a low resolution display
  2. the opposite of number one
  3. doing fine editing of a graphic at high magnification
  4. starting with a finished graphic at a low but unknown resolution then making changes and saving it at a higher resolution
  5. making a mash-up of several different graphics, each at different resolutions and saving the result as a high resolution image
  6. converting graphics between file formats that aren't yet completed
  • 1
    Some of these are dependent on what type of graphics you are working with. Are you doing photo editing, or illustration/logo design?
    – JohnB
    May 28, 2013 at 14:15
  • if you used a vector based program you wouldn't have to worry mostly on resolution.
    – user9447
    May 28, 2013 at 14:22
  • 6
    There are way too many questions in this to be answered constructively. All the individual questions, though interrelated, are all touched upon many times in other questions on the site. search terms: resample/-ing; ppi vs dpi; raster vs vector; lossy vs lossless compression
    – horatio
    May 28, 2013 at 14:24
  • 1
    I voted to close because of what Horatio said. A lot of these have been answered and those that arent should be asked as an individual question with a title that correlates to the exact question being asked so that it is useful for others.
    – Ryan
    May 28, 2013 at 15:24
  • Hi mikkimbru, welcome to Graphic Design SE. These are good questions, but as Horatio noted, some of them have been answered already. You should search the archives first to see if your question has been addressed. Second, each question needs to be posted separately, so it can be tracked and answered clearly by the community, and so that future visitors can find it and learn from it. May 28, 2013 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


This falls in with learning the basics in design and knowing your market. Some questions you've asked should really be implemented with a vector. I would strongly know the market you are trying to design for and learn the workflow.


Print design:

Typical resolution format is 300dpi. Photoshop can be used but should be used with minimal cases and not relied upon. I would suggest mainly using Illustrator or InDesign, vector based. Since you would be designing it in vector it can be re-sized and resolution is not an issue.

Now there are other standards we tend to fall too. If its a billboard design and won't be scene for large distances theres no reason to print @ 300 dpi and its knocked down to 150 dpi.

Web Design:

Default resolution is known as 72 dpi and even if you design at higher resolutions the browser will still only display what pixels exist and this has been discussed here. I typically do my wireframes @ the 72 dpi level but lately I have been going to straight code because designing for web is starting to become more of a problem. i say problem because what can be rendered as code is usually off to what you designed and clients are noticing and comment on this. I see and understand why some design at higher dpis for great detail but this is an area that is constantly evolving.

When I refer to learn the basics I also refer to the KISS effect. If you are going to do a full branding, such as business cards, web, etc., etc., a vector based logo can still be applied across the board. If you design in a pixel application you will spend triple time working on the resolution/quality of the artwork to look good when applied to the medium.

  • I would add that web design itself could be done at a high resolution to ensure the art, and even a mock-up of the site, could be printed if need be (it happens), but also as you note to help support Retina (and similar) displays. May 28, 2013 at 14:45
  • 1
    Just to point out Web Design - Default resolution is not 72ppi. It's whatever pixel density is of the monitor being used. 100pixels by 100pixels is the same size regardless of the ppi. You can work on web projects at 137.625ppi and it won't matter. The key is to always work at the same ppi so you can move elements between documents more easily.
    – Scott
    May 28, 2013 at 15:23
  • thanks @scott that is why I referenced your post on the topic.
    – user9447
    May 28, 2013 at 15:27
  • oops.. missed that :) Sorry.
    – Scott
    May 28, 2013 at 15:36
  • all good. asked you a question in chat about that.
    – user9447
    May 28, 2013 at 15:37

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