I have been given the task of getting an artists vinyl cover etc ready for print. I have been supplied images by the photographer but they are at the following values:


I am confused by the document size vs dpi and pixels. Is it ok to take down the DPI and scale up the document size? I need 300DPI min for print etc.

Any help much appreciated!


  • you can change metrics value to pixels click on the box that says centimeters and change it to pixels. then what i would suggest start a new file that is a cmyk 300dpi and the size of the vinyl you need and then import the image onto the newly started file this way you will know exactly how it sizes up against the needed canvas/file size
    – Stanley VM
    Oct 7, 2015 at 14:04
  • 1
    There is a ton of information on dpi on this site, search using "[dpi]". 1600 pixels means--at "typical" 300dpi for 150line-screen halftone printing-- that the optimal size is 5.33 inches (or 13.33cm @120ppcm). Just disable "resample image" and set the resolution to 300dpi: the pixel dimensions should remain 1600x1056.
    – Yorik
    Oct 7, 2015 at 14:26
  • Have a look at this if you want to know how to see your real print size and convert your ppi to 300ppi: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/19468/…
    – go-junta
    Oct 8, 2015 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


It doesn't really matter; the image is very small. The average vinyl record sleeve is 12"x12" and, at 300DPI (300 pixels per inch) you'd need a 3600x3600px image. The one supplied isn't even a third that size.

The Pixels per Inch shown in that window is only important when you import it into a print document (like an ID doc). When you do, it'll currently only be 12.7mm x 8.4mm. If you change the 3200 to 300, the size of the image will not change but its size when imported will.

When you're using photos, make sure the actual pixel dimensions are 300px per inch of print.

  • If the OP is going to go full bleed (to or beyond the edges), this is basically true, but if the OP is going to incorporate the image into a larger design, then the image may be fine as-is. It is usually safe to scale images (at least, arbitrarily random pixel images like photos) .75-1.33x size without the need modify or reject the image file.
    – Yorik
    Oct 7, 2015 at 14:28

The image

Your image in this case looks too small. A decent image is at least six times bigger than that. Check if id not provide just a sample by mistake.

Some expanations first:

A good design output for print should include 2 parts.

a) A Raster (or bitmap) image: a photo, ilustration, painting, 3D render, etc. For this cases where is a single artboard I recomend that you have just 1 raster image. But depending on the layout, yes, you can have several, but not transparent ones.

b) Vector elements. Texts, graphics, boxes, icons, etc.

So, there is a chance that image is a sample and you probably can replace it later.

Use an apropiate program

1) Try not use PhotoShop only but aditionla programs.

2) Use Ilustrator, Indesign, CorelDraw, Inkscape or Scribus.

3) Set your document size. If it is too large use a scaled one (For example 1m instead of a 10m) Not necesary for the case for a vynil cover, but that is the idea.

4) Put your photo inside. If it is a small one or an excelent one that is the photo you have. Yes you can ask for a bigger one if needed.

5) Make your texts etc in vectors. All thoose programs I mentioned do that.

6) Export a pdf.

Some math on that image

Yes, the ideal resolution for bitmap images is 300 ppi. (except 1 bit ones that can be 600, 1200 or 2400 ppi)

It does not matter what 3200ppi has now. It is just informative.

The real deal is what size is that image supose to be.

If you want it covering all the background for a CD (lets say) 5x5 inches you need a 1500x1500 image... So you have a problem. For bigger designs the image is usless. (Unless can be "artisticly" modified)

If the image is just a small part, becouse you are making a collage, you probably can go with thoose.

Again, if you do the design in a correct program you can simply replace the image after.

  • "Yes, the ideal resolution for raster" should really be "The ideal resolution for continuous tone (ie, photographs)". You an have raster artwork (such as rasterized type) that you'd really want at a much higher resolution.
    – DA01
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:16
  • I edited that part with "bitmap", and yes someone will argue that photochop mark a bitmap as the 1 bit bitmap. But that is another issue.
    – Rafael
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:20
  • I'm being pedantic, perhaps, but again, the key is 'continuous tone images'. LIne art can be a BMP file but you'd want that at 1200dpi+, for example.
    – DA01
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:21
  • "continuous tone images" is not acurate either. That description can also be a vector image. "Line art" either. The only case is a specific 1 bit image. I'll edit that. P.S. I'm happy you are picky with my responses. That means you want them to be better. Thanks. :o)
    – Rafael
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:25
  • 1
    BTW, I think you and I and most designers with print experience just naturally assume that. The problem usually shows up with beginners who thing all artwork is fine at 300dpi and do things like set paragraphs of text in Photoshop and are then frustrated when their 300dpi photoshop text looks terrible.
    – DA01
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:32

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