“Low res” and “high res” are short forms for “low resolution” and “high resolution.” One can use them to illustrate the resolution of a screen or printed image. You often hear the words “high resolution” or “low resolution” when it comes to images or photos, as the name implies, high resolution images are generally large in file size and when you view the image itself, there is a considerable amount of detail. Low resolution images are the exact opposite of high resolution images. While hi res is all about 300 DPI, distinct quality and huge files, low res has a basic setting of 72 DPI, low res is often on the smaller side and not-so-crisp quality.

Think of resolution as “image quality”

Very simply, the resolution of a picture or graphic illustrates the detail or information a graphic holds. The higher the resolution, the more detail the image carries, as one can find more information. Information equals “pixels,” which are the diverse colored “dots” which make up an image. The more pixels there are in an image the more vivid and finely detailed it would be to the naked eye. If an image has a small number of pixels the image will appear to be “pixelated”—the pixels would similar to squares that are merged together.

Put simply, resolution is the quality of the image. As the image resolution goes up, the image gets even clearer, sharper, more defined and more detailed. Your computer and your smartphone both have image resolutions. There are many different dots in the space on the screen. Put more simply, the more dots you jam into the width and height of the screen, the greater the resolution, the fewer dots, the lower the resolution.

If you remember those old computer monitors from the 90s, you’ll recall how blurry the images were. Nowadays, most basic laptops and LCD screens have considerably higher resolution. You will get more detail in the space of your screen because there are many more dots to display the details of the images. That’s all resolution is. It’s the number of dots (i.e. pixels) in any given space.

Resolution Matters

Image resolution and quality is an important consideration in the creative production process. As you invest your time and resources in materials to advance your marketing campaign or other promotional effort, you want each element to work effectively for your campaign.

When it relates to image resolution, bigger isn’t always better. The higher the resolution of a graphic or image, the more time it will take to open, edit, save, or print. If your end result needs only 300 dpi images but you use 1200 dpi photographs chances are you’re going to wait for a longer time at every step of your workflow and your hard drives are going to fill up much faster.

But smaller isn’t always better. If your image resolution is very low, your image will appear pixelated You’ll start seeing the pixels themselves, or negative effects from overly large pixels. Lack of detail and mottling are the 2 worst offenders in this section.

If bigger isn’t better, and too small is worse still, how much is enough? What amount of image data do you need? The first consideration is image mode: The demands are very different for line art than for grayscale and color.

Therefore the next time you want something printed, think high resolution graphics and images—it’ll greatly assist in the professionalism and quality of your printing!