If you’re considering printing brochures or high quality postcards that have colour touching the edges of the finished piece then your printer will need a file that has bleeds and crops. Most layout programs today will automatically produce crop marks and allow you to specify your bleed distance.

What are crop marks?

Crop marks are small lines placed outside of  each corner of your finished piece. Your printer will use these as a guide for trimming the piece to its final size.

What are bleeds?

The term ‘bleeds’ is used for all images or items that touch the edge of the finished printed piece.  The industry standard is a 1/8″ bleed. If you’re printing a piece that is 4″ x 6″ that has bleeds you’ll need to supply your printer with a file that is 4.25″ x 6.25″.  Printers require this extra space to allow for movement during the printing and trimming process to ensure there isn’t white space showing after trimming. I’ve shown a postcard below that has bleeds on three sides. The black line represents the final trim and the red line is the 1/8″ bleed.

To summarize this in pictures……In order to receive a finished product that looks like this.

You will need to give your printer a file with crop marks and bleeds that looks like this.

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