How HD Ready Am I?


Recently I received a request at work for our logo in HD, I work at a company which provides funding to a range of organisations and producing HD videos wouldn’t be covered under the grant, so I pointed them in the direction of our eps files and queried how the logos would be used. The response? They want to use them in print banners.

Like me this response might have amused you for the rest of the day. But on reflection it also made me think is HD print work such a crazy idea? And how HD ready am I?

As a jack of all trades (even though my job title is Web Editor) I occasionally have to turn my hand to print, video, social media, and I need to make sure that I am up to date with all the latest developments. With the query for HD logos being raised and the amount of articles that I’ve read around Retina display and designing for high definition, it started me on a quest to find out more information.

HD for print, is it as crazy as it sounds?

In a word, yes. It is probably is as crazy as it sounds. However with the introduction of Retina display there are changes that are taking place to keep up with these new developments. For example, Adobe announced in August last year that they would optimise a selection of their software to help improve the display of the package itself and also text and images that they create. To quote Maria Yap from Adobe’s blog ‘to enable HiDPI display support in Photoshop requires the replacement of 2500 icons and cursors’ and highlights the changes that companies are making to ensure they are ready for the Retina display.

But that is specifically looking at Retina display and the initial query I received was for HD logos. Looking at it from this point of view does sound crazy. While the improvements to software for use on Retina display devices makes sense, to need a HD logo (if indeed there is such a thing) doesn’t. I spoke to my friend, and creative partner, Jo about whether HD for print was possible. As she mentioned, it isn’t necessary to work to a higher resolution than 300 dpi for print work, it is an industry standard and works well for the majority of print sizes. Working with vectors also helps to ensure a high quality and print of graphics, in the case of the initial question, pointing the organisation in the direction of our eps files would enable them to produce a high quality print of any size.

HD for web, where do I begin?

This is where being HD and Retina display seems, on first glance, a minefield. Especially when you think about the number of devices that can be used to view a website, from a mobile, to a traditional desktop, to a television, to a tablet, the list seems a lot longer than it did 5 years ago!

Given the range of devices and to, hopefully, help keep things simple I’m going to consider HD and Retina the same thing. I do realise some of you reading this might be about to lynch me with that remark, especially as Retina is an Apple trademark rather than an industry wide term such as high definition. This article on why your HDTV is already a Retina display explains things far better than I can, and for me, highlights why we can consider that the same principles for designing for Retina will apply for HD.

Helpfully it also simplifies things to an extent, as I think trying to design/develop for HD and Retina while maintaining a responsive design would potentially have sent me over the edge! Being able to concentrate on designing for screens that have a higher resolution than 72dpi and those that do, to me, seems to be the main outcome of this technology and one of the most commonly referenced techniques is using scalable vector graphics. Again, pointing the organisation towards our logo files, all of 300dpi (a similar resolution to a Retina display) would, potentially, be a good first step as well.

Are you HD ready?

For me, I think the next thing to think about to make sure I am HD ready is to look at who is coming to the site I am designing and developing. While I would like to create something that works across all devices by looking closer at the user, the experience I want them to have, and thinking about how they will access my information should enable me to develop my site to their needs. This might be making the decision on whether I design for all devices or focus primarily on desktop or mobile.

While I don’t think I’m 100% HD ready yet, I think that I can learn a lot from other disciplines to improve my websites and other work, ensuring I keep up to date with user experience is essential. I can also see a link with graphic designers and how they utilise vectors to crossover with what could be achieved with SVG. I’m looking forward to not only putting these into practice in my next piece of work but also picking the brains of my colleagues, seeking the advice of Twitter and googling to see the latest tips and techniques.

Sometimes, more so on a day where I’ve been struggling with a piece of code, I do wonder where it will all end and how on earth to keep up with the latest developments. But, on the good days, this is what keeps the job interesting, creative and cutting edge.

Image Source(s): Photo Icons & Movie Icons via Sutterstock.

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