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crops & bleed


What are crop marks?
Crop marks, also known as trim marks, are lines printed in the corners of your document so we know where to trim the product. Crop marks are only necessary when bleed is required on your artwork (see bleed below). 


image showing business card with crop marks

What is bleed?

Bleed is a printing term that refers to any print that extends beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed area is part of the document that gives us a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper and design inconsistencies. After trimming, the bleed ensures that no unprinted (white) edges occur in the final trimmed document.

It is impossible to print precisely to the edge of a sheet of paper/card without the use of bleed, to achieve bleed, it is necessary to print a slightly larger area than is needed and then trim the paper/card down to the required finished size. Images, background images and background colours which are intended to extend to the edge of the page must be extended beyond the trim line to give a bleed, the bleed area is 3mm to all edges in addition to the document size.

image showing flyer with 3 mm bleed to edges

The artwork page

The artwork page is made up of 3 unique areas, Bleed Area, Trim Size and Safe Area. The illustration below shows all 3 areas and explains what each one is for.

image showing what an artwork page is made up of

Bleed Area
This area is used to place any objects such as images, graphics and colour that are meant to extend beyond the sheet edges, this area is in addition to the document size and is 3mm out from the trim size on all edges. 

Trim Size 
This area is the finished size of the product/document once the bleed area has been trimmed off.

Safe Area
This area should be used for any important info that you want to keep away from the trimmed edges, we would recommend a minimum of 4mm in from the trim size on all edges although a larger margin often looks much better.a

artwork page example
Product: A5 flyer (148mm x 210mm)
Bleed Area: 156mm x 216mm
Trim Size: 148mm x 210mm
Safe Area: 142mm x 204mm
 

Adding bleed?

If you are using a design application to create your artwork you can simply turn on bleed within the application itself or when exporting to PDF. If you are using a non design application such as word, we can add auto bleed for you but whenever possible we would advise adding bleed yourself.

Do I need to add bleed?
You only need to add bleed to your document if any part of your design extends beyond the edge of the sheet.