Bleed & safety margin
The bleed refers to the margin that extends beyond the final format of the printed product. It serves as a safety margin and is removed by the cutting machine after printing.
The final format including the bleed is called the data format.
To ensure that images, texts and other design elements are not cut, it is important to maintain an additional safety margin to each edge of the final format.
If not specified otherwise, add 0.1 inch of circumferential bleed to your print files. The bleed should not be colorless but have the same color as the design at the final trim edge. For example, (background) elements at the edge of your design should extend into the bleed zone. But make sure that no critical content extends beyond the final trim size because it might be cut off.
Left image: artwork including 2 mm bleed and 4 mm safety margin
Right image: printed business cards – cleanly cut and with an ideal safety margin
Why do you need the bleed?
When cutting to final format, there can be deviations by up to 0.04 inch.
If artwork contains no bleed or only a completely white bleed, disturbing "flashes" can occur – white margins are then visible around the final format. It is also possible that part of the design is cut off.
In addition to the bleed, the safety margin ensures that texts and design elements are not cut off.
Left image: artwork with white bleed and insufficient safety margin
Right image: printed business cards with "flashes" and cut design elements.
What must generally be considered when creating the bleed?
Add 2 mm bleed on all sides of your artwork unless otherwise specified.
Position critical graphic and text elements at least 0.2 inch away from the final trim size unless otherwise specified.
If you include the bleed, these elements should hence keep a distance of at least 0.24 inch from the edge of the print file.
Please bear in mind that wire-O bound products such as catalogs may require bigger safety margins.
What must generally be considered when creating the safety margin?
Position critical graphic and text elements at least 4 mm away from the final format size unless otherwise specified.
If you add the bleed, these elements should therefore be at least 6 mm from the edge of the artwork file.
Artwork view: Texts and graphic elements are located with a sufficient safety margin to the edge of the final format.
MARKERS & REFERENCE LINES
Feel free to use appropriate markers and reference lines (e.g. cutting, folding or register marks) to design your product in your layout software. However, these must not be included in the export of the print files.