What is meant by DPI

Point and pixel density explained quickly: What does DPI mean?

Which DPI value for print and web applications?

Anyone dealing with images will at some point stumble across the DPI value: We explain what the point density means and how much DPI is required for which images and photos.

Everyone has had an advertising flyer with pixelated images in their hands - this happens not only to delivery services and small companies, but also to large companies. The error is usually due to a DPI value that is too low (DPI stands for dots per inch, i.e. pixels per inch) and thus a point density that is too small. The problem: On the screen it is not possible to see whether the DPI value is too small or sufficient for printing, that depends solely on the resolution of the image - we explain why this is the case, what DPI values ​​are exactly good for and have compiled a few DPI figures that you can use as a guide for printing projects and Internet applications.


In the print area, the DPI value tells you how many points a print or a printing press creates per inch.



What is the DPI good for?


As already indicated, the dot density is especially important in the print sector, for example when printing magazines and newspapers, brochures, flyers or advertising posters. In contrast to digital images, sizes in (analog) printing are not specified in pixels but metrically or in inches. The dots per inch are, so to speak, the conversion factor from the digital image to the printed image.


Do you want all information about DPI in print and web compactly summarized in an infographic? Then this way!


A print image consists of many small dots - the finer the dot grid, the greater the dot density must be. If the DPI value is not sufficient, the possible print resolution is not used and the printed image may appear blurred or, as in our flyer example: pixelated.

A DPI resolution of 300 is considered a good standard for printable files - depending on the project, a higher point density may also make sense, as you can see from our table:



What role does dot density play in the internet?


On the Internet, or with digital images in general, the size of the image is the only thing that counts; DPI does not matter here: An image with the size 800 x 600 is displayed on a 24-inch screen with full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 Pixels) larger than on a screen of the same size with 2K resolution (2048 x 1080 pixels). The reason: Only pixels count on screens - if the image file is 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels high, exactly 800 and 600 pixels are used on the screen. The screens therefore each get the maximum quality out of the available image information; no matter how big the point density stored in the picture is.


The screen resolution of modern screens is getting bigger and bigger. The higher the pixel density, the smaller one and the same image will be displayed.


Regardless of this, 72 dpi has been recommended for many years for images on the Internet, which is probably due to the fact that the Macintosh 1984 actually had a resolution of about 72 dpi (or ppi - pixels per inch): a nine-inch screen, resolution of 512 times 324 pixels. If that were the case, web images would have to have a much higher point density today.

Since 72 dpi has established itself as the standard for web images, we still recommend using this value for your Internet files. Even if a different value would have practically no effect on the (digital) quality of the image.


Best strategy: keep the original


If you want to use pictures and photos later for the print area, it is advisable to store originals with a preset value of 300 dpi in the picture pool. For use on the Internet, you should then create a separate file that exactly corresponds to the required resolution in pixels. It is better not to use high-resolution original files for websites, as the image size has a direct influence on the loading time of a page and thus also the rating in search engines such as Google. Pages with a long loading time are placed further back in the results list on Google, for example.

If you use pixx.io as an image manager, you will already save a lot of work and time in this process: media are always saved in the original resolution and can therefore be used in the correct format and with the templates for use on the Internet or for other applications the appropriate DPI value can be downloaded.

You don't use pixx.io yet? Let yourself be won over by the advantages of professional image management and arrange a live demo today.