Trim, Bleed and All That Jazz

One of the trickiest things about designing for print is understanding trim size and all things related to it.

After the printed pages come off our presses and are bound together, they need to be “trimmed” so that each page is exactly the same size.  This ensures each page in your publication is even, giving it that professional look.

While we always try to trim as accurately as possible, it’s natural for the trim line to vary slightly in one direction or the other, which is why we recommend that you include a “bleed” and work within a “safe zone” when you design your PDF.

Bleed

To ensure that no important parts of the page are cut off in the trimming process a “bleed” area is defined.  The “bleed” extends beyond the “trim” for when you want a photo or color to extend to the edge of the page.  For Standard, Digest, and Digest Landscape publications, the bleed is the top 0.125 inches, the bottom 0.125 inches, and the outside 0.25 inches of your PDF. For Flyer publications, the bleed is the 0.125 inches on all sides of the 8.5″ x 11″ PDF.

The reason to include a bleed in print files is to ensure that images you want to go to the edge of the page always do so, regardless of how exact the trim is.  If an image is cropped at the 8.25” x 10.75” trim edge on a Standard size publications, as shown in the below diagram on the left, and the print is trimmed slightly wider, then there will be a white bar between the printed image and the edge of the page.  If the image is extended all the way to the 8.5” x 11” PDF edge instead, filling the bleed area as shown in the below diagram on the right, then the printed image will go all the way to the edge of the page regardless of where the actual trim occurs.

Safe Zone

The “safe zone” is the area inside the trim line where your text and graphics are not at risk of being cut off or lost into the binding in the final print, regardless of any variation in the trim.  For MagCloud publications this area is 0.25 inches within all sides of the trim edge.

Any content that you want to appear completely within the final printed publication should be kept inside the safe zone.  Placing content too close to the top, bottom or outside edge of the PDF could result in that content being cut off during trimming.  This is something to keep in mind when adding page numbers to your publication, as those tend to be placed closer to the page edge.  Similarly, placing content too close to the inside edge of the PDF could result in that content being lost into the binding if your publication is perfect bound.  By keeping your content within the safe zone, you ensure that it will appear completely in the final print and digital copies of your publication.

For more information and step-by-step instructions to set up your PDF with the bleed and safe zone in mind be sure to check out our Getting Started page.

Next up in the MagCloud Design series: The Importance of Layouts and Templates

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Design Resources, Tips and Tricks

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. PDF 101: Ten Common PDF Problems | MagCloud Blog - 28 Jun 2011

    […] placed dangerously close to the trim line.   As we discussed in our design series blog post on trim and bleed, it’s important to keep your content within a safe distance of the trim line to avoid having it […]

  2. Design Blog Series Recap | Mag Cloud Staging - 23 Jul 2011

    […] dealing with trim and bleeds, to color selection and typeface dos and don’ts, we’ve tried to offer up ideas on how to deal […]

  3. PDF 101: Ten Common PDF Problems | Mag Cloud Staging - 23 Jul 2011

    […] placed dangerously close to the trim line.   As we discussed in our design series blog post on trim and bleed, it’s important to keep your content within a safe distance of the trim line to avoid having it […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,582 other followers

%d bloggers like this: