An image which looks good on your computer screen is not necessarily good enough for printing on a business card.

Welcome to the world of image resolution. Computer screens display at a resolution of 72dpi. That is 72 little tiny dots (pixels) are butted up against each other in a line 1 inch wide. Why are we talking inches? I hear you say. This is one of the old measurements which has hung around in the good old printing industry as a term 'dpi' (dots per inch). All the image manipulation software also uses dpi so it has become a modern day measurement also.

To appear crisp and sharp to the eye on a printed product, line artwork needs to be a minimum of 600dpi although you can sneak through 300dpi if you have to. Where photographs reproduce best in print at 300dpi but can sneak through at 150dpi if you absolutely must but this is only if there is not any sharp lines in the image you have photographed as they will come out quite undefined.

How do I know what resolution my image is?

Open the image in your image software and go to 'Image Size' in the menus and you should be able to read it off there.

Do not enlarge the image

A common mistake people make is trying to increase the resolution of an image. This cannot be done. Once your image is scanned or downloaded off your digital camera, it already has its resolution set. Any changes you make in your software to it will not give you a higher quality image. You must go back and rescan it at a higher resolution or take another photo at a higher resolution to obtain a better image file.

Let's play math

If you only have an image off your computer which is the standard computer screen resolution of 72dpi, then you can use this image on your business card, but you will have to reduce it's size once you upload it to our site to 25% which will go from 72dpi to (4 x 72 = ) 288dpi. If you resize the image on our website, all the data is still there, just made small and higher quality. People often make the mistake of reducing an image in size in their image software only to end up with a smaller image still at 72dpi and hence throwing away the extra quality which was there.

Don't let this scare you. Still upload your image to our website for use on your business cards. Just use the scaling option to reduce both the X and Y axis to 25% in size. Hopefully the image is still visibly big enough for you on the business cards.

Any images you upload should be 300 dpi for photos, and 600dpi for logos and line work. This is an example of a file supplied at the wrong resolution of 72dpi. See how the text on the business card in the background looks ok, but when it is enlarged 400% it demonstrates how this file would not print well. The text would be all blurry and fuzzy. You would not be happy with these cards.

An image with a resolution too low for printing.

This is an image of a card's text saved at 600dpi resolution. Enlarged to 400% it still looks crisp. This card you would be happy with.

A high resolution image which will print crisp and sharp.