File compression can lead to depressing results.

One of the biggest problems I run into is dealing with misunderstandings about file types and their appropriate uses on the web and in print. We have become so used to "getting stuff from the web" that people tend to think they can save any jpg, png, or gif graphic they have found on the web to their hard drive and use it for print or other media. You can't do that and expect to have a good looking print job. Why? One of the biggest reasons is file compression.

Files for web are, generally speaking, highly compressed. Files are compressed because some can be quite large, and large files require more disk storage and download more slowly. Files for web have been compressed for optimal screen viewing - to display clearly, but to take up as little storage space as possible and to download quickly. They are compressed for screen viewing - 72 dpi (dots per inch). Printed material often requires about 300 dpi - or more! That can add up to a lot of detail lost in your photo or logo.

To then take that photo and increase it to the size needed for a brochure or newsletter, you are asking the computer to fill in bits of information that it does not have. The result - a very pixelated view.

One of the biggest tip-offs that you may have a problem getting a jpg printed is the size of the file. Smaller size files like 20kb - 100kb are not going to be able to be scaled up with good results. Those are going to be more suitable for web. If you have a file of about 300kb, that could be workable for a small printed photo. Larger files of 1MB or more will yield better results for printing. Smaller files will yield better results at smaller print sizes. I like to think of file size/photo size as someone once described the art of selling and setting prices for products - "It is easier to cometh down than to goeth up."

Whenever you look to complete a finished product - website, social media sites, printed brochure, banner, tee-shirt, the best thing to do is consider what quality and size you need for each media. When printing materials, it is also best to know where it will be printed, to find out what the specs are from that printer, and work with the printer to deliver files in the best condition possible to have the best outcome.

Quality in results in quality out.