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Design Quality Check

Before any project could be sent to print, we want to make sure your design won’t have any problem when printing. Checking the resolution of your images as well as ensuring all elements are inside the safe area should be done before check out. We currently do not provide a printed proof of any design before the final printing stage because this would require actually printing the product.

Instead, you can double check everything using the high resolution PDF proof you can generate before submitting your order to print. If a printed proof is absolutely required, you may initially order the smallest quantity.

Photo Size and Resolution

If you are using images from a digital camera for your printing material, always use the highest resolution setting to begin with. The higher the resolution, the sharper an image will print.

The recommended minimum resolution for printing is 300 dpi. This gives you the maximum size you may use your photo for printing. Image size (dimensions) is inversely proportional to resolution. This simply means, the bigger the physical size of a photo which is measured in pixels (width x height), the higher the resolution.

On the other hand, images on the internet are typically compressed to display on a computer monitor at a low resolution in order to achieve smaller file size for quick download. A computer monitor can only display 96 DPI (for Windows) or 72 DPI (for Mac) in an inch. This means, when you print a 72 DPI photo, the result will not usually look as clear and sharp as it does on the computer monitor.

We do not require a maximum resolution for the images you upload. The higher the resolution, the better the picture will print. It’s that simple.

So, the first step is to check if your photos have the proper resolution for print.

Here’s how:

1. Checking resolution on a PC

To check a photo’s resolution on a Windows PC, select the image you want to use. Right-click on the image and select “Properties.”



A window will appear with the image’s details. Go to the “Details” tab to see the image’s dimensions and resolution.



2. Checking resolution on a Mac

Checking a photo’s resolution on a Mac is similar to a PC. Select the image you want to use and right-click on it. Click on “Get Info”.



The image information window will open. You can find the image dimension and resolution under the “More Info” tab.


If you want to use a photo as a background, the size of your image will vary depending on the actual size of your design type. For example, a poster that is 18 inches × 24 inches will need at least a photo background that is 5400 pixels × 7200 pixels at 300 DPI.

If your photos are all at 75 DPI, you should try to calculate their real size at 300 DPI before using them.

Photo File Formats

Canva currently only accepts the following file formats for photo uploads:

  • JPG (.jpg)
  • PNG (.png)
  • SVG (.svg)

Additionally, we strongly recommend that your photos be under 25mb. Any other file formats are not supported.

Photo Color Space

Before you design anything that is intended for print, it is important to understand the difference between RGB color and CMYK color in order to ensure that the document you have created looks as good in print as it does on the screen.

Both colors render differently depending on which medium they are used for, whether it be on the web or in print. So, how do we know when to use which one?


(Image Source)

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is a four color mode which utilizes the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black in various amounts to create all of the necessary colors when printing images. This type of color setting does not include a white color because it is assumed that it will be printed on a white paper and depending on the percentage of each color that is used, the white from the paper will be used to fill the space, therefore making the shades appear lighter. When the first three colors are added together, the result is not pure black, but rather a very dark brown. The K color, or black, is used to completely remove light from the printed picture, which is why the eye perceives the color as black. (See illustration above.)

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) on the other hand, is a type of color mode that combines the colors red, blue and green in various degrees to create a variety of different colors. This color scheme is commonly associated with electronic displays, such as LCD monitors, digital cameras and scanners. When all three of the colors are combined and displayed to their full extent, the result is a pure white. When all three colors are combined to the lowest degree, or value, the result is black. Software such as photo editing programs use the RGB color mode because it offers the widest range of colors.

In a sense, the two color spaces are opposites. As such, it should come as no surprise that converting from one color space to another are not always perfect but a very close match can be achieved. (Source: Highland Marketing: Getting to Know RGB and CMYK)

Vector based images

Canva accepts uploading vector based images in .svg (Scalable Vector Graphics) file format only. Other file types are not yet supported. Images that are vector based are constructed using mathematical formulas rather than a fixed number of colored pixels. This means that no matter how you resize vector images they will scale properly and there will never be any pixelation.

Vector graphics have the advantage of taking up a lot less space on your computer, as the file size is usually quite small, even if the graphic itself is very large. Your company logo and brand graphics should be created as a vector and saved as a master file so you can use it with smaller items such as your business card and letterhead, but also on larger surfaces, such as posters.

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