Printing – a guide to bleed and safety zones!

Business card printing with bleed

Printing – a guide to bleed and safety zones!

Business card printing with bleed
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Part of what distinguishes professional print from home-printing is the ability to extend your graphics to the paper’s edges. This is only possible because of a thing called ‘bleed’, so it’s safe to say bleed is pretty important! Get to know all about this thing called bleed, and safety zones, in this quick guide…

What is Bleed?

Simply put, bleed is an additional 3mm at each edge of your artwork. So, an A5 flyer measures at 148mm x 210mm but, with bleed, it becomes 154mm x 216mm.

Why is this necessary? Well, this 3mm overprint acts as a safety net in case the guillotine blade doesn’t come down exactly on the edge of your artwork. Without bleed, the guillotine might cut ever so slightly to the left and you’d have a slither of white appear on the edge of your product. Take a look at the example below to see how bleed gets cut away.

Applying bleed and safe zones correctly on your artwork will ensure perfect printed results …

How much bleed do you need?

3mm is the industry standard but you should always check with your printer in case they require something different. For example, we ask for 3mm on all our products except our PVC banners which need 25mm instead.

What is the Safety Zone?

Bleed and the Safety Zone are often talked about together because they’re two sides to the same process. If the guillotine can cut too wide, it could cut also too close and crop your design. Nobody wants that so you should avoid putting any important design features near the edges – in other words, you create a safety zone.

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Colin (MrMorph) is creative director at Tmorph Digital Design. I have been working as a designer for over three decades and have amassed a great deal of experience in digital marketing and design. I'm passionate about web design, and I'm always looking for new ways to do things and solving problems that might not exist yet, I am a bit of a forward thinker. If I'm not in front of a computer, I'm probably behind my camera, on my bike or enjoying some music with my family.

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