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Bleed, Safety and Trim Explained

Bleed, Safety & Trim Explained

When designing your file to print it is important to know what Bleed, Safety and Trim are to insure your file turns out the way you planned. Bleed describes a document which has images that extend to the edge of the page. A document with bleed, will be printed on a larger sheet. This will insure that there are no white edges after the document is trimmed. If your file is not meant to have white margins you must include bleeds - 1/8" (.125") Trim refers to the final size of the file after the excess (Bleed) has been cut off. Safety is the space between the trimmed edge of the document and text or elements that are not meant to be trimmed. At least 1/8" (.125") but preferably 1/4" (.250"). This does not only pertain to small printed items such as business cards, but also to larger documents. A press can not print to the edge of a sheet. Any print with bleed must actually be printed on a larger sheet and cut down. For example, an 8.5”x11” page with bleed must be printed on an 11”x17” sheet and then cut to size. The example below of a business card shows how a document should be set up, if you intend to have graphics that extend all the way to the edges of the trimmed item.

Setting Up Your Document for Bleed

When done and easy, way to see if your files are properly sized is to check the page size in your PDF. If the pages are 1/4” larger than the trim size then you have properly sized the document. Setting up your document properly before you submit it for printing will save everyone time and sometimes money. Remember that if you expect your image to print to the edge of the finished piece then your art work needs to be up to an 1/8" larger on each side. Also remember to include a 1/4" safe zone for text.

Bleed Guidelines for Large Format

The same principles apply when printing large format. However use larger dimensions to compensate for larger print. Use 1/2" for bleed and 1" for the safe zone. If you have any further questions please call us at (407)896-2294.  

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