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6 hours ago, jez84 said:

Though, they looked clear to me on my screen so I assumed they would look the same to print.

 

This is an incorrect assumption. You screen shows images at (usually) 96PPI (Pixels Per Inch). Print is much finer, usually 300 DPI (Dot Per Inch), or around 3x the density.

 

6 hours ago, jez84 said:

My worry is that any .JPEG image with an already low resolution level can't be improved,

 

Basically correct. It would take a lot of work (i.e. essentially recreating most of the image at a higher resolution)

 

6 hours ago, jez84 said:

One suggestion was to start again and 

 

This ^ :)  Let's start with the basics:

 

You want a badge 1" (25mm) across when printed. For printing we assume a reasonable print quality of 300DPI.

 

1" x 300DPI = 300 pixels square. Your template should be at least 300pixels by 300 pixels. I've recreated your template and attached it as a PDN image (lossless AND preserves the layer structure).

 

One Inch Badge Template.zip

 

Download it. Unzip it and open it with PDN.

 

Any art you add should be placed on new layers using the circles as guidelines. Turn the circle layers off when you want to save the finished image. TIP: Save it as a PNG. They're lossless.

 

6 hours ago, jez84 said:

all I thought needed to be done was to scale DOWN those collected images to fit inside the scanned template (as those images were always displayed bigger on the screen than the template).

 

This is the way to go. Scale down to fit the 300x300 pixel template.

 

Good luck!

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7 hours ago, jez84 said:

Lastly, I'm guessing that for a design where I don't use an image (instead, I just make text that I create within PDN), then I should first set the resolution of that PDN file to at least 300 dpi and save as a PNG, to then scale down and use inside the template?

 

The trick here is to make your art/words on a canvas which is a power of 2 times the template size. I.e create your art on a canvas 2x or 4x or 8x the template size. That way when you resize the art/words down to fit the template you're scaling an even number of pixels. Me? I'd probably use a canvas 4x the template  size or 1200x1200 pixels.

 

Oh, and where I said....

 

17 hours ago, Ego Eram Reputo said:

TIP: Save it as a PNG. They're lossless.

 

^ that's the very last save. All your work should be saved to the original PDN (or even better a renamed copy of it). This is because when you save as a PNG the layer structure will be lost.

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