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Trim, bleed and associated safety margins

This section provides recommended guidance on trim, bleed and associated safety margins. Following these tips will insure that your work is produced and trimmed the way you envisioned it would be, we’d really appreciate if you follow our below guidance on artwork preparation, we want the best result for you!

Trim

  • Trim refers to the edge of the paper or the finished size of a product. When you refer to a A6 postcard, you are referring to its trim size.
  • The trim lines in a layout document indicate where the product is cut down to its desired size.
  • As you work, be aware of where your trim edges are, but keep in mind that there is always a mechanical margin of error of +/-1mm when the job is printed and cut. To be on the safe side, keep important content within safety margins.

Bleed

  • A finished product that has artwork touching the outermost edge of the paper was set up with ‘bleed’.
  • In a layout file, bleed refers to the line extending past the trim line to which artwork or a background colour is extended so that the blade will cut through it (rather than next to it). In most design applications (such as Adobe InDesign) you create the bleed in Document Setup.
  • Incorporating sufficient bleed helps accommodate the margin of error in where the actual cut is made.
  • If there is no bleed supplied in your artwork, there will be a white or unprinted border left around the edge.
  • Extend artwork or background colours that are meant to have bleeds at least 3mm past the trim edge. Bleed zones typically range between 3 to 25mm depending on the printer and printing method used. Please use a 3mm zone at minimum. It is OK to have a wider zone to accommodate a wider variety of printing options, providing you supply the artwork with cut lines/trim marks.

Safety margins

  • Safety margins refer to the zone between text and graphics that are not meant to be trimmed.
  • Keep in mind that because of the mechanical tolerances involved in printing, the actual cut can happen anywhere between the bleeds and the safety margin. This is why it is important to keep your text and important images within the safety margins.
  • For upload, keep text or graphics that aren’t meant to be cut off at least 5mm away from the trim edge.