Chinatown, Washington, DC USA + (202) 742-5923 ext 222
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Preparing Print Ready Files

What is a bleed?

In printing terminology, the bleed is the extra margin on a print product that is meant to be trimmed off when the product is trimmed to its final size. Bleed basically means that the color and graphics on a product “bleed off the page” to ensure continuity of the color to the edge of your product.

 

When we print products such as business cards and postcards, we do not print on paper of that size. We gang-run print, which means that we organize several print jobs next to one another on a large sheet of paper, print, and then trim each individual product to its final size. Jobs cannot be trimmed perfectly on the trimming line each time. During the trimming process, a product may be trimmed within or beyond the trimming line. As a result, the product may have a white edge, or a portion of the artwork from the surrounding jobs. Thus, we require a bleed on each individual product so that when the product is trimmed, there is an extra margin to prevent imperfections.

 

A full bleed is required for all print-ready files. For the correct bleed for your product, please view the list below. For example, most business cards have a 0.125″ bleed, so a 2″ x 3.5″ business card without round corners will have a bleed size of 2.1″ x 3.6″.
0.1″ bleed: most business cards, folded business cards, bookmarks, CD packages, club flyers, collectors cards, DVD packages, event tickets, most postcards, rack cards, rip business cards, rolodex cards, stickers, table tents, greeting cards, “wink” special shapes.
0.125″ bleed: a-frame signs, brochures, door hangers, envelopes, flyers, hang tags, illumaprint panels, folded hang tags, letterheads, mini menus, notepads, posters, retractable banner stands, staggered cut flyers, banners, posters (wide), window clings, window decals, yard signs.
0.25″ bleed: booklets, calendars, catalogs
0.3″ bleed: folders
0.325″ bleed: business cards with round corners in either 2” x 3.5” and 3.35” x 2.17” size. Postcards with round corners in the following sizes: 4” x 6”, 5.5” x 8.5”, 4.25” x 5.5”, 5” x 7”. All special shapes, except for “wink” special shape, which is 0.1″.
0.1875″ bleed: roll labels

 

 

What are guidelines, and how do I prepare guidelines in my artwork?

 

It is helpful to use guidelines in your artwork for print-ready files. Guidelines such as the safe zone, the trimming zone, and the bleed help designate where your product will be trimmed, as well as help you keep important elements such as text and graphics away from the trimming margin. Please provide us with a bleed all around your artwork, and make sure to keep all critical elements such as text and graphics within the Safe Zone.

 

 

What is the acceptable resolution?

 

In order for an image to print correctly, all file formats must be submitted at a resolution of 350 dpi at 100% of the final print size. When file resolution is lower than 350 dpi, the final print will have a substantial drop in the image quality. For signage, please submit files with a resolution of 150 dpi.

A resolution of 350 dpi means 350 dots per every inch in the design