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Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document

Let’s dive into the creation of marks and bleeds 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.

Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document-1

  • 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.

Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document-2

Now let’s explore the technical side! Here are some design tips to set up 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 set up 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 the bleed.

Marks and Bleeds 101: Setup your Document-3The bleed size allows wiggle room on any given side of the design to make cuts without losing the 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.

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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.

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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!

We hope you have found this information helpful, for more details about our services please visit us at or give us a call at (404) 321-7457!


Posted by Robert

The team of print and marketing pros at AlphaGraphics Northeast Atlanta makes consistent delivery, stunning quality and rush turnarounds look easy. But this kind of work product doesn’t come by accident. It requires decades of collective experience to come together with cutting-edge equipment in a culture that rewards pride in your work and attention to detail.

Since taking the helm in 2018, local owner and operator Robert Yeldell has created these perfect conditions, leveraging technology with a pioneer spirit you’d expect from someone with a former career in the entertainment industry. It all comes together in an exceptional customer experience, from the time you first pick up the phone to the moment you leave a raving review about the way we exceeded your expectations but not your budget with our quality, timing and service.

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