Bleed and Crop Marks

A printer requires a little help to ensure your job can be printed and cut to perfection. This is where bleeds and crop-marks come into play

Watch this introductory video

It is important to remember that you need to choose one size larger paper which fits your desired final trimmed size. For example, Foundations of Design: Representation (ARCH10001) requires a 600mm x 600mm page, so students need to print A0 applying crop marks to trim it down.

1. Relevant to the ABP Media Hub

Trim Area

The absolute horizontal and vertical area dimensions of a publication. Most publications are printed on paper that is larger than the page dimensions to allow for processing, handling, and binding as well as image demands. In the finishing process individual printed sheets are trimmed to their proper final size, which is the trim size.

Crop Marks

Crop marks indicate where the page is to be trimmed. They are short, thin, solid, horizontal and vertical lines, placed outside of the trim area at each corner of a page that provide a cutting guide for the finishing process.

2. Other things to know

Bleed Area

When imagery or design elements are produced with the intention of extending beyond any edge of a page of a publication this known as a bleed. In other words bleed is used when it is it is necessary for the image or a portion of it to extend beyond the trim edges.

Live Area

The live area is an area within a page that is designated a safe area for all content. In magazines, for instance, the live area is actually a margin established for layout purposes. The edges of the live area would indicate the furthest extent that text could occur at the top, sides, and bottom of all pages.

Slug Area

The slug area is every part of a press sheet that will be cut off of the final print. This includes any bleeding image content; all crop, fold, and registration marks; and any colour bars.

Fold Marks

Fold marks indicate where the paper is to be folded if needed. These marks are short dash or dotted horizontal or vertical lines, placed outside of the trim area along the edge of a page to indicate where a desired fold is to occur.

Centre Marks

Centre marks are included to indicate the horizontal and vertical centre of the printed page. These marks are used in the post-printing process to help align pages to finishing machines, etc.

Registration Marks

A printer uses registration marks to align the separate colours of ink when printing a page with more than one colour. There are many different kinds of registration marks used by printers, each with its own purpose to aid in printing a variety of different types of imagery.

Colour Bars

Colour bars are placed beyond the bleed area to allow the printer to control the colour on the printed page. Colour bars not only provide a constant stable standard for measuring the flow of various colours used in a printed image over the duration of a print run, they measure the visual properties of ink as well as the performance properties of the printing press. They also provide information for comparing a colour proof to the printed version of an image.

3. Exporting

Exporting PDF from InDesign

  1. Choose File > Print

  2. Click Marks and Bleed on the left side of Print dialog box

  3. Select either All Printer's Marks or individual marks

Exporting PDF from Adobe Acrobat

  1. Open your file > Print > Select Printer

  2. Advance Settings > Crop and Bleed > Select suitable options

  3. Make sure to use 'Fit' Setting to print Crop and Bleed Marks

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