What is Bleed, Trim, Margins and Crop Lines?

Have you ever sent your finished file to a Printer who's come back to tell you that your file
doesn't have Bleed? Did you wonder "What is bleed?"

Or perhaps your document was missing Crop Marks?

Hover over the interactive image below to see what Bleed, Trim, Margins and Crop Marks are and click on each for more information as well as how to set up your Print-Ready file using the most common design too, InDesign.

Feel free to share this helpful, interactive Guide!

Note this interactive guide works best on a desktop. Click here for a mobile-friendly guide.

This image shows full bleed without any guides overlayed

 Safe Margin 

 Safe Margin 

 Safe Margin 

 Safe Margin 

Sheets of Printed Magazine pages (or sections) showing trim, crop and bleed.

What is  Margin 
and How Do I Set It Up in InDesign?

This is a close up of an image with bleed showing a line indicating the safe margin

Margin is not used by your Printer so doesn't need to be visible in your Print-Ready file. However, using document Margin is good practice to keep text and important content safely within the page edge and neatly aligned with other elements in your design.

Next: How to set up Margins in a NEW InDesign document

 

What are Trim and Crop Marks and how do I set them up in InDesign?

This is a close up of an indesign document showing the TRIM line

The  Trim Line is a design guide representing the very edge of your page (the finished size) where you want your printer to trim to. 

Your image should bleed past this line to ensure no unprinted paper is visible on the edges of your design.

 

The trim line does not have to be visible in your Print-Ready Artwork but Crop Marks do.

Next: Crop Marks

 
Sheets of printed magazine pages showing trim, crop and bleed

What is  Bleed and How Do I Set It Up in InDesign?

This is a closeup of a screenshot of an InDesign document showing the edge of the documents bleed

 Bleed  provides a buffer, typically 5mm beyond the page edge. This allows for a small margin of error when the printed sheet is trimmed down to the finished size. 

Ensuring your document has bleed prevents

unprinted paper (usually white) showing around the edges of your design.

 

Dragging your background images to the bleed line will ensure an edgeless, flawless print for a professional finish. 

Next: Bleed vs No Bleed