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Bleed and Crops Explained By Printmonster

Bleed and Crops

What are they and why are they needed?

Bleed for print



In this blog post we will be explaining what bleed is and why it is needed. We will also be looking at what crop marks are and why they are also important. Lastly we will be going through what a safe zone is and how all three of these come together to create a group of precautions when designing print.

What is bleed and why do I need it?

When designing your document, if you intend background elements to touch the edge of the document, then bleed is required. This is because if bleed isn’t added to a document, due to tolerances within the printing process, when the document is trimmed to size, small movements can result in small white strips showing on some edges of your print. Therefore any document that is being professionally printed will need bleed adding, that is if you intend the print to run to any or all of the edges. Your document will then be printed onto a larger sheet and this excess bleed will be trimmed off, so your document end ups at its required size with the print straight to the very edge.

The amount of bleed required is 3mm on each side. If the programme you are working your artwork in allows, set the bleed limit to 3mm on all sides. Alternatively if the programme does not allow you to set a bleed limit , you will need to extend the page to have an extra 6mm for both it’s width and it’s height. An example of this would be on an A4 document which is 210mm x 297mm. As mentioned before if the elements touch any and/or all sides of the document then the bleed will be added which will extend the sheet to 216mm x 303mm. The excess will then be trimmed off afterwards back to its intended size of 210mm x 297mm without any white strips appearing on your print.

What are crop marks and do I need to add them?

Crop marks or trim lines are small lines at the corners of your document that inform the print finisher where to trim.

Crop marks are essential for any document that will be trimmed after the initial printing process, especially if bleed has been added.

When a printer receives your artwork, it will be imposed onto oversized paper, sometimes, depending on finished size, there will be multiple copies of your artwork printed on the same sheet.

Once printed, the Crop Marks are used as a guide, informing the print finisher where to trim, enabling them to bring the document down to it’s final size.

What is the safe zone?

The safe zone is the 3mm zone inside of the cutting edge where no important information should be placed.

The printing and finishing process has tolerances. At Printmonster we always aim to be 100 percent accurate.

Machines and people, however excellent, can be variable. This variation is tiny, but information contained very close to a cut edge can give a poor looking finish.