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Why does my logo not look sharp?

by | Mar 22, 2012 | Blog | 0 comments

Have you ever wondered why you or someone else’s logo doesn’t look sharp in print when the rest of the print looks good? The likely answer to this will be the file format. If the logo has been saved in, what we refer to as a pixel format, and has been saved at a resolution lower than the required print size then it will print pixelated and fuzzy. Because I see this happen so often, I thought I’d explain what pixel files are and also the preferred Vector format.
What are pixel based files?
Pixel (aka bitmap or jpeg) based images are those made up of pixels (dots) and are resolution dependent.  The number of pixels in an image is linked to the resolution setting (dpi – dots per square inch) to make up the file size. In print the ideal size for a pixel file is 300 to 450dpi at the size that the file is being printed. If the file is 50x100mm at 300dpi then that is the maximum size it should be printed at. If you enlarge the file to say 100x200mm that will reduce the resolution to 150dpi which will degrade the image making it “look pixelated”.

Pixel files are ideal for photographs but they can be used convert vector files when the vector file is just too detailed or complicated, which may result in crashing the print job.
Typical pixel files – jpeg, tiff, gif, png

What are vector based files?
Vector files are scalable to any size allowing you to make the file as large as you like and it will still look perfect. A vector image can easily be converted to a pixel file, however the reverse conversion is not so straight forward and can be very time consuming to do so. This is why most logos should be designed in a vector format and not in a pixel format.

Typical vector files – ai and eps files however please be aware that it is possible to place a pixel file within these formats and save them as ai or eps. Also a PDF can be either vector or pixel formats, it all depends again on what is within the file.

View an example

So the answer to the question “why does my logo not look sharp in print” is most likely that it has been saved as a pixel file with the resolution lower than the size required to be printed at. To prevent this, make sure you have a vector version of your logo and that your printer prints it in the vector format and doesn’t convert it to a pixel format without telling you.

If you would like to know more or you would like us to check your logo then please call me on 0116 281 5730

Jason

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