Bleed (Amount that Graphic Extends Beyond the Edge of the Trimmed Sheet) Images, background images and fills which are intended to extend to the edge of the page must be extended beyond the trim line (final size of page) to give a bleed. Since it is difficult and possibly damaging for a printer to print up to the edge of a page, graphics are generally printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down to the final size.
Trim (The Final Trimmed Size of a Page)
Margin (Border of a Page)
Margin refers to the amount of space that all live matter (copy, logos and all ‘readable’ material) are inset from the edge of the page. Typically these items will not come to the edge of a page because they risk being cut off on a piece that bleeds. Sometimes printers specify the margins they’d like to adhere to, sometimes not.
Live (or Safe) Area
(Area Within the Margin)
The Live area is the space inside of the page margins that is deemed safe to put copy, logos, and any other pertinent information.
Crop Marks (Indicate Where a Document will be Trimmed)
General Print Ad Tips
Indicating Lenght & Width
In the design world we always use width as the first measurement. So, when someone says a page is 8.5 x 11, 8.5 is the width. If that is not what you are used to please take the time to indicate which measurement is which. It’s also important to note that print dimensions are given in inches, while web dimensions are given in pixels.
When do you need a bleed?
Almost every printed piece that has graphics coming right up to the edge will need a bleed. The only exception would be large billboards, wall graphics, etc. that are already an irregular size and would need to be trimmed down regardless of the final size of the piece.
When do you NOT need a bleed?
Bleeds cost more money because they use more paper. If a client specifically requests a piece without a bleed, we will sometimes include a white margin instead, so the graphics don’t extend to the edge. Things like letterheads, flyers, and small ads do not have bleeds.
If possible communicate about printing:
If at all possible, it is best to communicate with the client as to where the piece is being printed, so we can have an accurate idea of their specs and requirements. Although some pieces are standard all over, such as letterhead and business cards, other pieces such as folders and postcards come in a variety of sizes and layouts.