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SHOMI Design Guide - Images

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A picture is worth a thousand words.” Most of us are familiar with this well used quote. A picture, be it a graphic or photographic image, can indeed be an integral part of a design. It is important to be aware of certain factors when choosing and incorporating imagery into a creative project. We live in a world saturated in visual media. Most of us tune out the majority of data we see every day as it is simply a sensory overload. Our choice of imagery for a design project must be well considered and never arbitrary. The image must support other design content such as copy. To simply choose an image because it is pleasing is not recommended. The basis of all good design is that each element is carefully considered and has been incorporated for a good reason.

When working with images, try to keep your audience in mind. In the case of a museum exhibition design, conveying information in a clear, concise manner is important. Therefore, try to limit your use of images so your design is not cluttered.

Finally, whether working with images for print or web, always try to source the highest quality images from the beginning. It is very difficult to make a small blurred image look impressive, especially if it has to be enlarged. Spending more time initially finding clean images and scanning them at high resolution will save you time later in your project.

Images for Print

There are important differences to be aware of when preparing images for print and for web. Below is a list of DOs & DON’Ts when incorporating an image into a design for print project.

DO source a high quality image. This is particularly important for traditional print.


DO ensure that you have permission to use the image.

DO work with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. If you intend to enlarge an image, scan it at 600 DPI so that it can be enlarged to 130%. Please be aware that enlarging a PIXEL image more than that will compromise its quality.

DO choose CMYK colour format for your image. This is the default colour system used for print.

DON’T forget to include your final image in an images folder along with the final design artwork when sending to the printer. This is particularly important when using Adobe® InDesign™ or Quark Express®. If you are using Adobe® Illustrator®, you can embed the images into the artwork and they will be securely attached to the document.

Images for Web

DO source a high quality image. If you change this original image, do a ‘save as’ so as not to replace it. Always keep the original higher resolution image file intact.

DO ensure that you have permission to use the image.

DO work with a resolution of 72 DPI. The reason for this is that large files are too heavy for the internet and will make your website very slow. Everything that is designed for the internet must be of the smallest possible size while still maintaining acceptable quality. Web sound and imagery are always of lower quality than DVD or print.

DO choose RGB colour format for your image.

DON’T forget to save your final web ready image inside a separate images folder inside your main project folder. This is extremely important so that the server recognizes where to find your website images when they have been uploaded to the Internet. This means that the folder that you work with on your computer which contains all your files and images must appear exactly the same when you upload them to your web space. You can’t move files around to different folders or the system will get confused.

Software Resources

There are various software packages available for image editing. Four popular ones are listed below to give an indication of what is out there for designers.

*Please note that this is not an endorsement of any of the products mentioned in this guide. Information that might highlight various options available is provided here. It is recommended that you also do independent research before investing in any form or software or hardware.

Adobe® Photoshop®
This is professional grade software for photographers and designers. Its quality is reflected in the cost. It is the design industry standard and a great investment for anyone who intends to start designing major projects. It is available for Mac and PC.

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements
This software is high quality and comes at a cheaper price. It doesn’t have the same functionality as Adobe® Photoshop® but it may be perfectly adequate for your design needs. It is available for Mac and PC.

PaintShop™ Pro®
This is an image editing software designed for PC that also has good functionality and a reasonably high price tag.

This is a free image editor for PC that can be downloaded at: