What is DPI?


You've probably noticed that each clip art description states that each image is 300dpi. But have you wondered what it means? I was talking with a friend not too long ago and she told me that when she started buying clip art she really had no idea what 300dpi was or DPI anything for that matter. This really made me think and wonder how many people buy clip art and really don't know what DPI means?

You might have also seen the term PPI and wondered what this means, too.  Both DPI and PPI have the same meaning to an extent but are used for different formats.

  • DPI = dots per inch. Dots per inch means that there are a specified number of dots per inch that will be printed. So, if an image is 300dpi the printer will print 300 dots per each inch of the image. 300dpi is the minimum commercial standard for printing and produces top notch print quality. The lower the dpi the less dots the printer will print per inch. So, if you print a 72dpi image it will usually look fuzzy on paper or it might not produce an image with clarity and possibly even jagged edges. 

Also, when using a 300dpi image you can usually resize an image without a loss of quality due to the number of dots per inch. 

  • PPI = pixels per inch and is used for images displayed on a screen. The number of pixels per inch determines how sharp an image is displayed on your computer, tablet and even smartphone screen. Like DPI the more pixels per inch the sharper the image. If you've ever wondered why some images look crisp and clear on a screen they were probably made up of a large number of pixels while a fuzzy image probably was not created with many pixels at all.

When it comes to print and quality, remember that 300dpi is the commercial industry standard for printing and should produce the highest quality printed product.

I hope this brief description helped you to understand what DPI is and how you can produce quality print jobs.