Trim, Bleed and Safe Zone

What is the ‘trim’?

Bleed, trim and safe zone are terms within the printing industry that relate to the tolerance levels that have to be allowed for. Even the most sophisticated equipment, like ours, has a variance when printed media is cut to size and shape.

The trim is where the guillotine is set to cut the paper, vinyl or other material, the bleed and safe zones are to allow for any variation. The bleed is the outer limit and whatever background colour you use should go past this to avoid any white or other unprinted colour to show. The Safe zone is the inner limit where all important stuff like text, borders or images should keep within so they don’t get trimmed off or look uneven.

The usual tolerance levels are 5mm but our standards are higher and you only need 2mm for the safe zone and 3mm for the bleed with Handy Labels.

The trim is where we remove the ‘bleed’ and cut your artwork to its final size.

What is the ‘safe zone’?

The safe zone is the area inside the trim that will be kept clear from guillotine blades, so text or sensitive information should be kept within this area. We require a 2mm ’safe zone’ inside the ’trim’ on all edges, failing to do so may result in design elements being cut off.

What is bleed?

The ‘bleed' is the area of the design that will be trimmed off when your artwork is cut to its final size. All elements of your design that extend past the ‘trim’ are said to ‘bleed’ off.

The ‘bleeds’ purpose is to make sure your design reaches past the finished ‘trim’ by 3mm on all edges so that you don’t see any unsightly white edges on your final product.

What if I can’t supply my artwork with bleed?

If you’re unsure whether your design application will allow you to add bleed then please contact us; we may be able to advise you how to resolve this.

If it’s not possible for you to supply your artwork with bleed, we may be able to add it for you, although this could be subject to an artwork charge.

Applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Photoshop do not have the functionality to add bleed, so you will need to make page size / canvas size 3mm bigger on all edges if bleed is required. This 3mm will then be trimmed at printing.