People assume that higher resolution makes for a better print, but this is not always true. The best resolution may vary depending on the medium. For example, the default for photographs and digital media is often 300 DPI. However, at Spoonflower, we have found that 150 DPI is the sweet spot for fabric, which is why we convert every file to 150 DPI during upload.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but there is one important thing to consider:
Fabric is a weave of fiber and threads
This weave limits how much detail will print. In fact, when the resolution is too high (over 1000), there are often more dots per inch than the substrate can effectively display. As a result, you may receive a fuzzy print. Learn more below, in Pixels Becoming Dots: Printing a Digital Image.
Can I upload a file less than 150 DPI?
Spoonflower will not print anything under 150 DPI because the file is lacking enough information to meet our quality standards. If you upload a file at a lower resolution, such as 72 DPI, we will convert the resolution to 150 DPI.
Artists often upload a file saved at a resolution different than 150 DPI and then contact us with concerns because the size has changed. We will always determine the design size using the original pixel dimensions divided by 150.
Follow these examples:
- An artist creates a file measuring 8" x 10" at 72 PPI, but after uploading to Spoonflower it displays at 3.84" x 4.8" and 150 DPI. The original pixel dimensions of this file is 576 x 720. (8" x 72 PPI = 576 pixels, 10" x 72 PPI = 720 pixels) but once converted to 150 DPI, the new measurements are determined and saved. (576 pixels divided by 150 DPI = 3.84", 720 pixels divided by 150 DPI = 4.8")
- An artist creates a file measuring 8" x 10" at 300 DPI, but it displays at 16" x 20" and 150 DPI on Spoonflower after upload. The original pixel dimensions are 2400 x 3000 (8" x 300 PPI = 2400 pixels, 10" x 300 PPI = 3000 pixels) but once converted to 150 DPI, the measurements are saved. (2400 pixels divided by 150 DPI = 16", 3000 pixels divided by 150 DPI = 20").
Wallpaper sizing may be different because the image must fit across the 24" width of paper. This will ensure that the design is seamless from one panel to the next after installation. When you choose to print a design on wallpaper
- our system will automatically convert the design file to the correct DPI to span 24"
- if the resolution is not quite enough, we will decrease the dimensions (increase the resolution) to repeat the image an even number of times
Review the four arrays below. Each shows a 2" version of our logo printed at four distinct resolutions, on four popular fabrics. You will see no significant change of print quality as the resolution increases.
▶ Petal Signature Cotton
▶ Linen Cotton Canvas
▶ Performance Piqué
NOTE: The small shifts in the white point across each sample can be attributed to light conditions during photographs. Each Test Swatch for each fabric type was printed on the same core of fabric as its three siblings!