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Setting Up Your Print Project for Full Bleed

In preparing your print project files it is important to decide early in your design process whether your project will be “full bleed”. In printer lingo, this simply means that the design area travels clear to the edge of the paper. Your other option, if you choose not to have a full bleed project, would be to have a white border around the printed edge.

Since dry ink (if printed on a digital press) or ink (if printed on an offset press) cannot be printed right to the edge of the paper, the design must give the illusion that this is what was done. This is achieved by adding additional background printed color beyond the actual edge of the printed piece and then cutting off that additional background to the desired piece size. How much additional must be added?

The industry standard is an additional 1/8” (0.125”) on all sides. To simplify, that means that a flyer that is to measure 8.5” x 11” when finished would measure 8.75” x 11.25” for print purposes. After printing, the additional measurement would be trimmed off producing the desired size without cutting off any of the necessary print or graphics — the area we call the “live” area.

We would be happy to share a copy of our spec sheet illustrating the above full bleed information. Simply request one at

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