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I'm having a custom deck of cards printed using images of varying resolutions. The card printer asks that all images be at 300dpi, the industry standard for printing. Certain images that I've uploaded have triggered a "low resolution" warning in the printer's interface. The source images are typically much larger than the size they'll be printed, which will be roughly 2"x2". While I understand the generalities of image resolution v. image size, I'm wondering if it's best to:

A. Upconvert the resolution from, say, 72dpi to 300dpi, resampling the image so that its size remains intact (it will be shrunk down to be printed on the small card).

Or

B. Upconvert the resolution but don't resample, so the image shrinks. The problem with this is many of the images will then be much smaller than their target print size.

Or

C. Change the image size to be smaller, not resampling so that the resolution increases and hopefully gets closer to 300dpi

It probably goes without saying that the goal here is the best looking printed image. Forgive me if this is the wrong forum for this question, but I didn't find a better place. I'm happy to provide additional information that I may have left out.

Update:

I should perhaps also allow for an option D:

Leave the images at their current resolution, as they will be printed much smaller than their image size and their low resolution will be unnoticeable.

  • "The problem with this is many of the images will then be much smaller than their target print size." This is why there is a warning. While that is the correct method, it shows you that the material you have is maybe not suitable for print. – KMSTR Oct 23 '14 at 6:37
  • If at all possible, you might want to look into using InDesign. This software makes it rather easy to place images at your desired size and check their resulting resolution. In converts upon exporting a .pdf automatically, too. – Vincent Oct 23 '14 at 10:46
  • Technically its possible your editing application can do a better interpolation than your printer. – joojaa Oct 23 '14 at 12:02
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The card printer asks that all images be at 300dpi, the industry standard for printing.

Well, it's not an industry standard as much as a typical rule of thumb for printing photos at actual size. 300dpi is a decent print quality for that.

But it's a really low resolution for flat line art or type--so it really depends on the type of art you're working with.

If you're scaling the source images down physically, then I'd go with option C. There's nothing to be gained by increasing the DPI setting...whether you resample or not.

Definitely get a proof, though to make sure they will come out as expected before investing in the full print run.

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