There are many things to consider when preparing artwork for print to ensure the finished product is as you would expect. This article will help you understand the importance of bleed and why it is needed.
Bleed is the area of your artwork that will be cut off during the trimming process.
The bleed area required is 3mm on all edges of your artwork and any images/colours should extend into this area if appropriate to your design.
Banner artwork requires a 5mm bleed area.
Any artwork with elements running to the edge, that do not include bleed, are at risk of unprinted edges being present on the finished items due to the possibility of slight movements occurring during the printing or trimming process. Even artwork with a white background requires bleed - it will get you into good practice.
The following example demonstrates how the dimensions of business card artwork change when the bleed area is applied.
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This template Illustrates bleed, trim and the 'safe' area when applied to a business card. You can download the template and use it as the basis for your artwork.