The Golden Rules to Printing

Ever saw those super cool posters that actually had full color around the entire print? That’s called FULL BLEED printing and is very simple to get started. It only requires that you setup your document with an extra 0.125“ BLEED AREA on each edge (the excess) for photos, artwork, layouts, or anything else you want to print from edge-to-edge. Just keep reading below and we’ll explain in detail to make sure your project turns out perfectly.

BLEED AREA (blue dashed line)

Set up your document 0.125” larger on all 4 sides for Full Bleed printing. That extra 0.125” bleed area simply extends from your TRIM SIZE. Pretty much your left 0.125” and your right 0.125” would total to 0.25” (also known as the 1/8” Full Bleed). Don’t forget your top and bottom bleeds. Bleed area items need to continue and fill this space to give the illusion the page was printed to the edge of the paper. Photos, backgrounds, colors, etc. need to extend 0.125” larger on each edge and entirely fill the bleed area. (Do not add strips of color or a white border to edges to compensate for lack of bleed.) After printing, we will trim off the 0.125” bleed area. The printing image may shift slightly during printing and bindery (the cutting process) and this 0.125” bleed area ensure no white edges are showing on your final document.
(example, 8.5”x11” as a finished size: Set up your bleed to 8.75”x11.25”)


TRIM SIZE (black dashed line)

This is your finished document size. Pretty much, this is where we cut off that extra 0.125” on each edge and discard what’s removed.
(example, 8.5”x11” as a finished size: We trim it to 8.5”x11”)


SAFETY ZONE (red dashed line)

Keep all your documents content inside the Safety Zone. (This zone measures 0.125” within your document on all 4 sides.) Your important stuff such as text/written words, page numbers, logos, or other art elements you want to guarantee to not be trimmed off must be placed within the safety zone.
(example, 8.5”x11” as a finished size: The Safety Zone area is 8.25”x10.75”)



Just like your laser printer, there isn’t a commercial way to color print to the edge of the paper, but there is thankfully a way to print larger than what you order and trim off the excess!


Don’t use Color Bars & Crop Marks!

We don’t utilize Color Bars and our cuts are based on mathematical calculations so Crop Marks are also not necessary to send with your document eventhough we do appreciate the thought.


Remember your CMYK Color Modes!

Remember we print using 4 ink colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) so your color mode is important to us. Always remember to start and finish your designs in CMYK color mode. This will ensure that there will be no color shifts.

Because of all the different files sent our way, we can not ensure the best color match if you send your file in RGB. So remember to use CMYK and not RGB.

Pay attention to the Dots!

Many people forget that monitors use 72 DPI to display things to you. It may be nice and crisp on that screen, but that 72 DPI won't make that clean edge on paper. It's very important to start and save your graphics in 300 dpi. DPI is Dots per Inch, and it determines weather your graphics will print fuzzy or not. No one likes a blury print, so avoid anything less then 300dpi.

What file to send us?

We love "Press Quality" PDFs! Always remember to flatten your PDF files before sending them to us. What makes up a Press Quality PDF? Pretty much everything you have read above, then flattened and saved as a PDF file. Pretty simple, just sounds complicated.

We do accept high resolution JPG files if the PDF is to large to send. We do ask to keep your files under 400mb in size. The smaller, the better - not to mention faster to upload. Sometimes using that JPG file helps if a PDF file is to big.


Want to read this offline?

No problem, we put it in a PDF file for you to download. Just click the link below and enjoy.

How to achieve FULL BLEED printing

Still have questions?

Still have questions, or just want to read up on more info about printing? Just check out our FAQ, it's got plenty of other things to read and even some details of what we just covered!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)