If you are working on graphic design projects or editing images, you may have heard terms like PPI and resolution. You probably know that these can affect the quality of your design, but is one more important than the other?
As a general rule, PPI refers to how many pixels are displayed per inch of an image. This is what measures the resolution of an image. Images with fewer pixels are considered lower resolution, and vice versa.
When getting into graphic design, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what resolution is and how it is measure. Keep reading to learn more about resolution, as well as when PPI is important and when it isn’t.
Is PPI More Important Than Resolution?
Let’s say that you’ve opened up Photoshop and are ready to start creating your design. The very first step is to create your document. You set the dimensions, but now it’s asking about the resolution. However, your designer friend told you to always set your PPI to 300. Is resolution more important, and if not, how to you change the PPI?
In a sense, PPI is resolution, so one cannot be more important than the other.
When setting the resolution for a document, you are essentially telling that document what to set the PPI at as well. So, if you change the resolution to 300, that will also give your document a PPI of 300.
Resolution vs. PPI: What’s the Difference?
PPI, or pixels per inch, is the standard for digital resolution. Essentially, PPI is the measurement used to quantify the pixel density of an image.
For example, if you set your PPI to 72, you will have an image with 72 pixels per inch. The same goes with a higher PPI.
But what does that mean for resolution?
Resolution is how much information is contained within the image. When you change the resolution, you are telling the image how many pixels will be in each inch of the images. Simply put, when you change the resolution, you change the PPI.
Does Higher PPI Mean Higher Resolution?
Generally, PPI does, in fact, equate to a higher image resolution. However, this doesn’t always mean that the appearance of the image will remain consistent and high quality.
For one, the displays of many digital screens vary. If you created your design at 50 PPI, it would look fine on your phone, but it may appear fuzzy displayed on a larger screen.
Another reason image quality can be inconsistent is because the content within images can vary. For example, black text on a white background tends to appear clean and crisp most of the time. Now put that same text on a paisley pastel background, and the clarity will decline.
This is because the pixels per inch is more dispersed in a detailed image than one with a single subject.
What is Considered a High-Resolution PPI?
A high-resolution image has at least 200 PPI. With this quality, the image has enough information per inch to display details without any blur or pixelation. These images can often be printed at a good quality as well, as long as the print size matches the dimensions of the document.
However, high-resolution isn’t always necessary for images to display clearly online. Most of the time, images are displayed clearly on website with a resolution of 72 PPI.
Can PPI Be Too High?
Theoretically, the higher the PPI the better, since you can never have too much information in an image. However, there is a point when the value of PPI becomes pointless, and it has to do with what we can actually see.
The number of pixels the eye can pick up depends on how close the person is to the screen and their visual acuity. At about a foot away from the screen, a heathy adult can see roughly 720 PPI. That means that anything higher than that is essentially useless.
When Do PPI and Resolution Not Matter?
One thing to take into account when dealing with resolution and PPI is how often they will be of importance.
If you are a designer who works mostly with raster images, then learning all you can about PPI is going to be the best route for you. However, if you work with vector images, that is another story. Vector images do not have resolution; therefore, PPI does not matter.
Getting to know all the terms involved with graphic design and digital art can be somewhat overwhelming. And one isn’t more important than the other.
Your best bet is to always set your resolution to 300 PPI so you can avoid any burring or pixelation regardless of where your design is displayed.