As a graphic designer, I have come across many jobs that came attached with graphics that are unusable. Unfortunately, the technology to clearly stretch a 100×100 JPEG to the size of a billboard does not exist. High resolution graphics are very important because that could make the difference of your design work looking professional or not. Probably the best word in high resolution is vector. Vector basically means instead of remembering each pixel, it only remembers the points of change in a shape. For example, on a square it remembers the four corners and the fill of the object. Other things that graphic designers like are .EPS files and any adobe based format. A common misconception though is that just because it is in that format that it is perfect. Taking a 72 DPI (dots per inch) image into Photoshop and changing it to 300 DPI does not make it high resolution.
Fortunately, vector and high resolution images are very easy to come by these days. The easiest way is a simple search engine like Google. A search for vector graphics will come up with countless results. You can narrow down these results by getting more specific, such as “cloud vector” or star vector”. If you are looking for a high resolution image then you can also use Google. On the side of the Google images page there is an option called “Larger than…” When you click this option a drop down menu will appear with many options. Usually anything over 2MP is good to use, but you may have to go larger depending on the size of your project. These images are really only for personal use though. Other people own the rights to them and it is possible to get into some trouble by using them without permission.
There also many websites dedicated to high resolution graphics. Some of them are free, but most of them cost money. A really great free one is Brands of the World (www.brandsoftheworld.com). This website has vector graphics of pretty much every brand, company, sports team, and many other things. A reliable site for images, if you have the money, is Getty Images (www.gettyimages.com). I personally have never had to use it yet, but I’ve heard good things from the people that have. As far as vectors, I just use Google. I like to look around at all the options that are out there before deciding on a file.
Hopefully this post could help a few people understand the importance of high resolution graphics and now know how to obtain these graphics.