OK! HERE'S HOW IT WORKS
In printing terminology, the bleed is the extra margin on a print product that is meant to be trimmed off when the product is trimmed to its final size. Bleed basically means that the color and graphics on a product "bleed off the page" to ensure continuity of the color to the edge of your product. For the best results, please download the product templates from our download templates page.
When we print products such as business cards and postcards, we do not print on paper of that size. We gang-run print, which means that we organize several print jobs next to one another on a large sheet of paper, print, and then trim each individual product to its final size. Jobs cannot be trimmed perfectly on the trimming line each time. During the trimming process, a product may be trimmed within or beyond the trimming line. As a result, the product may have a white edge, or a portion of the artwork from the surrounding jobs. Thus, we require a bleed on each individual product so that when the product is trimmed, there is an extra margin to prevent imperfections.
A full bleed is required for all print-ready files. For the correct bleed for your product, please view the list below. For example, most business cards have a 0.1" bleed, so a 2" x 3.5" business card without round corners will have a bleed size of 2.1" x 3.6".
0.1" bleed: most business cards, folded business cards, bookmarks, CD packages, club flyers, collectors cards, DVD packages, event tickets, most postcards, rack cards, rip business cards, rolodex cards, stickers, table tents, greeting cards, "wink" special shapes.
0.125" bleed: a-frame signs, banners, brochures, door hangers, envelopes, flyers, folded hang tags, hang tags, illumaprint panels, letterheads, mini menus, notepads, posters, Large Format Posters, roll labels, retractable banner stands, staggered cut flyers, window clings, window decals, yard signs.
0.25" bleed: booklets, calendars, catalogs
0.3" bleed: folders
0.325" bleed: business cards with round corners in either 2'' x 3.5'' and 3.35'' x 2.17'' size. Postcards with round corners in the following sizes: 4'' x 6'', 5.5'' x 8.5'', 4.25'' x 5.5'', 5'' x 7''. All special shapes, except for "wink" special shape, which is 0.1".
Crop marks are lines on the design that serve as a guide for where the image or product will be cropped. To create crop marks in Photoshop, follow the steps below:
- Open your file in Photoshop
- Choose File > Print
- Select "Output" from the drop-down list on the pop-up menu
- Check off "Corner Crop Marks"
- Click "Print"
You may submit your files with crop marks that are added outside of the design itself, but please ensure that crop marks are not within the design, as we will not remove the crop marks from the design.
It is helpful to use guidelines in your artwork for print-ready files. Guidelines such as the safe zone, the trimming zone, and the bleed help designate where your product will be trimmed, as well as help you keep important elements such as text and graphics away from the trimming margin. Please provide us with a bleed all around your artwork, and make sure to keep all critical elements such as text and graphics within the Safe Zone.
Image Area is the area of the artwork that will appear on the final print.
The Safe Zone is the area where all the critical elements (text, images, logos, etc.) must be placed, so that they are not trimmed off when the product is trimmed to the final size. Please make sure to remain within the Safe Zone, as elements on the Safe Zone line may be cut off during trimming.
The Trimming Zone, or the trim line, is where the product will be trimmed to its final size. The trim line indicates the final size of the product. Please keep in mind that variations may occur during the trimming process, and we cannot guarantee that your product will be trimmed perfectly along the trim line.
Borders are not recommended due to cutting shifts. If your product is not trimmed exactly on the trimming line, borders may appear uneven. Especially for small products such as business cards, even half a millimeter of cutting shift may cause the borders to look uneven.