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Bleed Printing Guide

Bleed Printing Guide

Read Time: 5 Minutes


30 Sep 2015

Hello! Amy here. I’m one of the Personal Artworkers at instantprint and I wanted to explain what bleed is and why it’s important when printing your artwork.

We want to make buying print online easy for everyone. To help cut through the jargon, I’ve defined all the terms you might have heard relating to bleed in printing and how to set them up for your artwork when you choose to print with us.


What is Bleed Area?

Due to cost and speed, we print all of your artwork on large sheets, then trim them down to size with a guillotine. Trimming isn’t exact – sometimes it’s a mm here or there. The bleed area is a thin border around your artwork that helps make sure there are no white borders from the sheet left over after trimming.

If you want your artwork to go to the edge of the page (with no white border), you will need to extend your design to fill the bleed area. I’d recommend you use the background image or colour. This area will be trimmed from your final document to eliminate any unwanted borders. 

what is bleed in printing


Bleed area can be different depending on the product you want, but is usually 3mm on top of the product’s finished size. For example, standard business card size is 85mm x 55mm. With bleed, your artwork size will be 91mm x 61mm. Choose the product you’d like on our website and you’ll be able to find the bleed size in the product specifications.

bleed area definition



Cut Line 

The black dotted line marks where your design is cut to the product’s finished size. Any part of your design placed on the other side of this line will be cut off.

what is the cut line printing


Safe Zone

The safe zone is the 3mm inside of the cut line. Make sure all important parts and text of your design are kept away from this area. Any graphics in this area risk being clipped when cutting. 

what is the safe area printing


A lot of our products have a blank template with the bleed and safe zones already worked out – these are free to download and design on to your heart’s content. You can find these on the product page of whichever product you want to print, or by getting in touch with our team at pa@instantprint.co.uk.


How to Add Bleed in Photoshop

Here’s a quick video guide we made on setting up bleed area using the popular design program Adobe Photoshop.

Amy Fairhurst

About the Author

I’m Amy, one of the Personal Artworkers at instantprint. I love using my design knowledge to give customers the confidence they need to create incredible looking print every time.