Full bleed printing file setup

Bleed areas in your artwork are critical to printing your products properly. Understanding bleed areas, trim lines, and quiet areas is crucial for any creator. Thankfully, it's a lot simpler than you may think.

Full bleed printing

We recommend a 3mm bleed area outside of the trim line and a 5mm quiet area inside of the trim line. Some products have different bleed requirements, but we’ll cover those exceptions below.

While you don’t need to include visible bleed lines in the final design that you submit to be printed, they should be taken into consideration during your design process. Incorporating bleed helps to prevent unwanted white edges, keep important elements of your design from being chopped off or hidden in the folds of your books pages.

Incorporating a quiet area inside the trim line prevents important elements of your design from being placed too close to the edge of the paper

Each of these areas is explained in detail below
Print file template with bleed area

Bleed area

Most of the 3mm bleed area that extends out from the trim line is going to be cut off, but you should make sure your design fills the bleed area.

If you don’t add bleed to your project, you can be left with an unsightly line of white paper that doesn’t have any ink on it if the cutting blade falls a fraction outside of the trim line.

Once the bleed area has been created in the application the actual content of the page that touches the trim edge must be extended in to the bleed area.

Regardless of the size of your product, the bleed size is usually 3mm. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, such as casebound book covers. Those exceptions are discussed below.

Enlarged illustration of the bleed area

Trim line

Around the edge of the page you’ll notice a dotted line that indicates where we’ll trim your paper. During the printing process, it’s possible for manufacturing variance to occur, which causes the cutting blade to be off by the tiniest margin. While this is acceptable within industry standards, it does mean that your paper might be trimmed just inside or outside of the trim line.

This is why we have bleed and quiet areas, to keep your critical design elements safe.

Read more about printing variance

Enlarged illustration of the trim line

Quiet area

The 5mm quiet area extends inwards from the trim line. It serves two purposes. Like the bleed area, it’s possible for the cutting blade to stray by the tiniest fraction away from the trim line and cut your paper into the quiet area. But its main purpose is to help you keep important design elements, like text and graphics, away from the edge of your paper, so that when your product is printed, your design is pleasing to the eye.

The recommend quiet area is usually 5mm, but can be larger for perfect bound, wiro bound and casebound books.

Enlarged illustration of the quiet area


The above template is perfect for straightforward printing jobs, like staple bound booklets and single sheet leaflets or posters. For more complex printing needs, such as perfect bound, case bound, or wiro bound products, you may need larger bleed areas and quiet areas.

Read more about bindings

Example of a hardcover template

Hardcover template with large bleed area

Example of a perfect bound template

Hardcover template with large bleed area

Example of a wiro bound template

Hardcover template with large bleed area

Extending your design

Adding bleed is extremely important to make sure your final product looks polished and professional. Thankfully, doing so is really quite easy. All you have to do is add an extra 3mm area outside the edge of your page. Then extend your design past the trim line to completely cover the bleed area.

When working from InDesign, select “Use Document Bleeds” in the Export PDF dialog box. Otherwise your design will be exported without the added bleed.

We have an extensive selection of templates for many sizes and binding types in our product range. The templates are all free to download and have detailed explanations to help you create the perfect print-ready files.

The design has been extended an extra 3mm past the trim line below
Example of adding bleed by extending the design beyond the trim line
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