Large Scale Graphics Versus Handheld
A general rule of thumb when designing print projects is that all graphics and imagery should be 300 dpi (dots per inch). But there is a difference between the quality required for graphics that are printed for handheld pieces—programs, invitations, brochures, etc.—versus large scale graphics—posters, stage backdrops, banner stands, etc. Because handheld pieces are viewed close up, the resolution needs to be higher so the graphics don’t look fuzzy or low resolution. Large scale graphics for the most part are seen from far away. Therefore, 150 dpi will suffice.
Setting Up Your File
A resolution of 150 dpi certainly helps in designing large scale graphics because those files can still be HUGE! And your computer may suffer dealing with the file sizes, become sluggish, or crash all together. NOOOO! The backdrop below, for example, is 24 feet long!
The good news is that you can somewhat trick your computer to not freak out. By designing the file at 25%, meaning if the final output size is 24 feet, you can size the file at 6 feet—a quarter of the final size—with the graphics at 600 dpi, a much more RAM-friendly approach. If you’re like me, it may hurt your brain and test your math skills. But just divide the final size by four and make the resolution of the graphics 600 dpi. Also, make sure you’re printer is aware of the intended output size.
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designing large scale event graphics • pomp creative • graphic design studio • washington, dc • annapolis, maryland