This section provides recommended guidance on trim, bleed and associated safety margins. Following
these tips will insure that your work is rendered and cut exactly the way you envisioned when it
is finally printed by a customer.
Trim refers to the edge of the paper or the finished size of a product. When you refer to a 4" x 6" postcard, you are referring to its trim size.
The trim lines in a layout document indicate where the product is cut down to its desired size.
As you work, be aware of where your trim edges are, but keep in mind that there is always a mechanical margin of error when the job is printed and cut. To be on the safe side, keep important content within safety margins.
A finished product that has artwork touching the outermost edge of the paper was set up with bleeds.
In a layout file, bleed refers to the line extending past the trim line to which artwork or a background color is extended so that the blade will cut through it (rather than next to it).
Incorporating sufficient bleed helps accommodate the inherent margin of error in where the actual cut is made.
If there is no bleed, there will be a white or unprinted border left around the edge.
For upload to Inkd, extend artwork or background colors that are meant to have bleeds at least .125" past the trim edge. Bleed zones typically range between .1625" (1/16") to .25" (1/4") depending on the printer and printing method used. For Inkd, please use a .125" (1/8") zone at minimum. It is OK to have a wider zone (.25") to accommodate a wider variety of printing options.
Safety margins refer to the zone between text and graphics that are not meant to be trimmed.
Keep in mind that because of the mechanical tolerances involved in printing, the actual cut can happen anywhere between the bleeds and the safety margin. This is why it is important to keep your text and important images within the safety margins.
For upload to Inkd, keep text or graphics that aren't meant to be cut off at least .25" away from the trim edge.
Safety margin zones typically range from .1625" (1/16") to .25" (1/4") depending on the printer. As a designer, using a wider safety margin (.25") will accommodate more printers across the board while preserving the integrity of your design.