Home Blog Blog Print Tips & Advice Understanding bleed and crop-marks

Understanding bleed and crop-marks


BleedsJust as a graphic designer needs the special features of their computers – such as rulers and zoom – to enhance their powers of graphic design accuracy, a printer also requires a little help to ensure your job can be printed and cut to perfection. This is where bleeds and crop-marks come into play.

Firstly, a bleed refers to the practice of extending an image or coloured area of a printed document beyond the confines of the page border. While extended by merely a few millimetres, this breathing space can mean the difference between a professional finish and a not-so-hot final product. Particularly when long-run prints are made, printed documents may move around when being cropped in large quantities. Without professional assistance, adding a bleed to your document is easily overlooked and a document may become slightly misaligned in the cropping process. It’s important to understand how bleeds and crop-marks work, so that you can best collaborate with your printing expert about how you would like your documents to be cropped.

The appearance of each individual document determines what edges need to have a bleed applied. A document with an entirely coloured background for example, would need a full bleed around the entire border. If there is a white background however, with an image or graphic header as the only page elements kissing the border, bleeds would only be required in the affected areas. Different printers may require different widths of bleed so it is best to have a chat with your local Kwik Kopy printing centre before embarking on any major print project.

The second element to be aware of when preparing your document for print is the creation of crop-marks. These are, as they sound, small marks applied to a printed document that tell the printer where to perform a crop. Quality publishing and graphic design software will have a crop-mark generator built-in as either an automatic feature or at least one that is easily activated.

Similar to the way a bleed eliminates the chances of misaligned white space appearing on a printed document, making sure you give text and images a few millimetres grace from the interior border of a document will help protect your document from losing any vital elements to the cropping blade.

The combined application of bleeds and crop-marks is one of the best ways to help your printer give your document the most professional finish. For more information about bleeds and crop-marks, contact Kwik Kopy.

For more handy design and printing tips, head to your nearest Kwik Kopy Centre.

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