If you’re a graphic designer, I sure hope you’re you’re still in school or something. Say that around my office and you’ll get fired faster than lightning.
800x1000@300 DPI = 2.67x3.3 inches
800x1000@72 DPI ~ 11.1x13.9 inches
DPI only dictates how big an image is when printed. DPI = “Dots Per Inch”. If you have a 3000 pixels wide image, and a 300 DPI print setting, it will span 10 inches, because every inch will take 300 dots (pixels) to fill.
Most people aren’t going to be able to tell the difference between 150-200 or 300 DPI printed on good paper with a crappy printer (like a home printer, or a cheap kinkos print) because the ink will “bleed” and you won’t get a super-accurate print to begin with. However, you can most definitely tell the difference between 72 dpi and 300 DPI. It’s not even a question. It’s like setting a 400x300 image as your desktop wallpaper in stretch mode.
If you really can’t get ahold of adequate imagery to pull off 300 DPI (and you most likely can’t, because 300+ DPI is what we push off of our industrial printers at work and a simple 8.5x11 print requires a resolution of 2550x3300 pixels minimum…I say just do your stick art at about 150’ish DPI. It’s usually a pretty good middle ground. 150 DPI means that anything you find that’s high quality desktop wallpaper size will be big enough to print on a standard-sized stick.
Happy hunting. =)