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Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document

Let’s dive into the creation of marks and bleeds, why and how they’ll set your project up for success.

It’s never as easy as just hitting print! Print production flow is at it’s best when a document has these necessary components; marks and bleeds.

  • What is a bleed? – A bleed is the space where an image or block of color extends off the actual size of the artboard.
business card with bleed

business card with bleed

  • Why do I want to add a bleed? – If you would like your final piece to have a color or image that prints to the edge of the paper, it is necessary to have a bleed. Bleeds allow content to extend off the page, thus leaving room to cut a document to size without a white border. This way, your design will be flush to the edge of the printed material.
business card final

business card: final product

Now let’s explore the technical side! Here are some design tips to setup your document for print:

Creating Bleeds

When creating a new document in programs such as Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, you’ll have the option to setup your page size, page count, margins, bleeds, etc. Set up the bleed in the beginning, it’s a good habit to start with this feature on.

Rule of thumb: Set bleeds to at least 1/8 in. (.125), format all pages with the same size of bleed.

Document PresetsThe bleed size allows wiggle room on any given side of the design to make cuts without losing integrity of the design.

Note: It is suggested that any text and imagery you wish do not extend off the page be designed within at least 1/4 in. (.25) of the page border. This way, any risk of design elements being cut off the page is eliminated. 

 Adding Crop Marks

When your design is complete with bleeds and ready for print, there is another important step. A screen will appear that allows you to make final adjustments to your document before saving.

Exporting File

Within this window, you must apply crop marks or “trim marks”. This feature will turn on small guidelines in each corner of the document. The crop marks are used for reference. Final cuts will be made using the marks to assure the document is cut straight and to the correct size. Export with Bleeds

In the ‘marks’ field you will have to manually enter your settings, giving the crop marks a weight of (.125) will make the marks visible to the printer. It is recommended to set the ‘offset’ function as well, (.0625) is a good measurement. This function creates a small space between the crop marks, helping during the trimming process. Your final page setup should appear like the link, ready for successful printing!

Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document-6

We hope you have found this information helpful, for more details about our services please visit us at or call us directly!


Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document-7


Posted by erothschild

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