Thanks for all of your comments.
_Greg Pfeil_: Your content proposal looks like the best solution. Another option would be to allow a background image size to be specified in CSS. That way browsers that are smart enough will only download images specified in the print media CSS when someone hits ‘print’. Also it would be nice is background images specified in print media CSS were printed by default - as they have been deliberately included for print.
_Niek Emmen_: Yup, this is a good idea. It’s how I would expect to allow users to see and print a hi-res photograph for instance. You could open a new window with only the image resized to work for print resolution.
_Chris Hunt_: Sorry, it might have been good to demonstrate this more :) I was using the FARK method, and simply including the image inside the <h1> tag. Hide the image in the screen css, and show it in the print one.
_Susan Ottwell, Stephen Down_: Unfortunately, we can’t use CSS to set the size of a background image to crunch it down. That is why we have to rely on regular IMG’s which we can resize to work as opposed to CSS background-images which we can’t.
_David Ross, Alan Marchman_: Yup, I agree. I still use dialup at home and I certainly hope someone wouldn’t employ this approach to do that. I hope they would allow me to click on a link to a “hi-res printable version” or something if I wish.
_Ryan Cannon_: In IE5/IE6 even when an image is set to 0 it still occupies 1x1 pixels. Firefox is smart enough to know what to do. I vaguely recall testing on Netscape that at 0x0 it just ignored the size and went fullsize. But I will need to do some more investigation into this.
_Bryan K_: Good for you :) I had no doubt that it had been done before. I didn’t see the need to wrap the IMG in another DIV as you suggest though. Was there a reason you didn’t just rely on the ID of the IMG? The borders perhaps?
_Mike Stone_: Your reservations are interesting. Would that not also rule out SVG and PDF as well?
I don’t actually regard the web as a medium as such. I think it is more a mode - a method of delivering different media - whether it be an online article such as this, an application such as Gmail, or even an animation like Homestar. I’m not suggesting or promoting burdening every page with hi-res versions of images, I’m merely discussing the techical approaches to delivering better printable documents when needed. I for one, have printed many pages off the web and think this approach has it’s uses.