When creating your print order, it’s important to remember the roles of bleed, safety margins, and cutting tolerance. The three work together to provide a clean edge for your printed piece. Keeping bleed and safety margin in mind as you design will help us produce your order accurately and with the highest possible quality.
Setting up bleeds is easy and one of your first steps, whether using Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop. Bleeds of 1/8” are required for smaller projects such as business cards, flyers, brochures, sell sheets, newsletters, and booklets. A 1/8” bleed is also recommended for larger designs like signs, posters and tradeshow graphics.
Bleeds and Trimming
A bleed is required when your design’s elements are meant to go all the way to the edge of the sheet. Bleed is the area that gets trimmed off when cut to final size. Not including a bleed can result in a gap between the printed image and the edge of the paper, appearing as a thin strip of paper between the art and the paper’s edge.
The strips occur when the paper bounces slightly on the press during the printing process, an inherent attribute within the printing industry as a whole. The bleed provides our equipment a small amount of space to account for this movement. Bleed, combined with an understanding of cutting tolerance, eliminates these strips.
Cutting Tolerance and the Safety Margin
Cutting tolerance refers to slight variations that occur when trimming to the final size. Our cutting tolerance is 1/16.” The machine can vary up to 1/16” when cutting. Any part of your design that falls within this cutting tolerance can be trimmed off during production. Important elements must be placed more than 1/16” away from the trim line.
Background colors and imagery should extend beyond the trim line to create the bleed, while important graphics and text should fall inside the safety margin – a line set at least 1/16” inside the trim line to ensure that you don’t lose important information. No significant text or graphics should fall inside the safety margin.