Artwork Bleed Guide

It is important when creating artwork to include a ‘bleed’ area around the artwork. Commercial printers print multiple products onto very large sheets of paper and then cut each product out using automated guillotines. It is impossible to cut multiple products exactly to the edge of a printed image so a little over print is required on each side. This overprint is called bleed. The image shows the cutting line and the edge of the bleed. The area in between is the bleed area. So if the cutting process is a millimetre out on either side, the end result is not affected.

Industry standard is to have 3mm of bleed on each edge which means that the overall length of each side will be 6mm longer. For example an A4 sheet with bleed is 303mm x 216mm. When it is cut down, the final size will be 297mm x 210mm. 3mm will have been cut off each side.

When creating new artwork using design software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or Microsoft Publisher, it is important to set the size of your document so it includes a bleed area. You can check bleed requirements for standard document sizes on our Artwork Size Guide page.

The image also shows the ‘safe zone’ line. The safe zone is the 3mm area inside of the cutting line in which it is recommended no text or important information should be placed. Again if during the cutting process the guillotine is a millimetre out on the inside of the cutting line, there is a risk that anything immediately inside the cutting line could be clipped.

We will check each piece of artwork you send us and highlight any concerns regarding the bleed area or safe zone.
If you need any help, please call us on 01273 917 939 or email us at
If you want us to create your artwork for you, visit our Design Service page for more information.

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