Print-Ready Art Part 3 – Bleed, Cut Line, and Safe Areas

If you are ordering any print items and are preparing your own artwork, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your artwork is print-ready.  For more information please see this post about resolution and this post about file types.  Once you have the correct resolution and file type, make sure your file has the correct layout so the printer can cut it properly.

  1.  Bleed

Make sure your file has at least .125 inches of bleed on each side.  What this means is that the artwork for your postcard, brochure, business card, etc. must be .125 inches larger on all sides than the finished product.  For example, a standard business card is 3.5 inches by 2 inches.  Your artwork should therefore be 3.75 inches by 2.25 inches.  This is to ensure that there is no white space around the card when it is cut by the printer.


2.  Safe Area

Make sure all text and important pictures are inside the “safe area.”  This is to make sure that important pieces don’t accidentally get cut off.  Text and logos should not be close to the edge.


3.  Cut Line

Finally, look at your final artwork and make sure that you have .125 inches of bleed beyond the cut line.  See the diagram below for a standard business card.  Artwork should extend beyond the red line.


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