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I recently had a deck of custom cards printed at MakePlayingCards. They accept bmp,png,tiff and jpg images at a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. I have a bunch of SVG vector images that I can convert to whatever DPI I need, but I thought 4 times the minimum would be more than enough, and used 1200 DPI png images.

They came out looking fairly well, but grainy in the detailed portions. I know the resolution needs to be higher, but I don't know by how much. I would like to print at the best possible DPI without making the images overly large for no good reason. The MakePlayingCards site does not mention what the maximum resolution their printers can print is, nor can I find that sort of information on other card printing sites.

I don't even know a good ballpark for this number, so the maximum DPI of any reputable playing cards is an acceptable answer. eg. The DPI at which Bicycle cards are printed is x.

  • You'll likely get a much more informed answer if you ask on graphicdesign.stackexchange.com – Hao Ye Mar 1 '15 at 18:47
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    How come you're not asking MakePlayingCards for what to provide to them for best results? – ikegami Mar 2 '15 at 10:46
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    I'm afraid in this case the problem is their printer. 1200dpi is plenty enough for excellent quality images. Most professional print shops print at 600dpi. Either they downscaled the images, or their printer can't handle that resolution, or you made a mistake while exporting. – SF. Mar 2 '15 at 11:55
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From a quick Google search it would appear the standard industry DPI is 300. Another web printing service discusses is here: A Note About DPI. They only print at 300 DPI.

As is mentioned in a comment Graphic Design may be more informative: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/95/what-dpi-should-be-used-for-what-situation

As to why your cards came out incorrectly there could be any number of issues including incorrect exporting or due to compression their end*. You should always check their FAQ in future:

To customize your poker cards, create images that are 300DPI and CMYK color mode. Allow bleeding area as specified in our product page. To ensure the highest quality of printing, please use high resolution images.

In my experience with any kind of printing it is hard to get things perfect first time. There are a lot of tools out there (e.g. Publisher can be switched to CYMK mode) but just checking again and again and following the manufacturer guidelines seems to be the best way to improve your results.

*I wouldn't be surprised if they converted SVG to another format incorrectly.

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If you contact customer support at Make Playing Cards.com they will answer any questions you have for your particular needs in printing. The answer I got was for 54 cards printed at Poker Sized, the templates for the cards are best at 800DPI.

The DPI of the cards (according to customer support) is based on the total size of the run because they print all the cards at once.

Repeat, It is NOT 300DPI but 800DPI for the total size of 54 cards x Poker Sized Cards. Your individual needs may vary, contact customer support for your size and amount of cards you wish to print. Keep in mind that we do not know how many cards are printed across to do any real calculations of our own.

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