Setting Up Files for Print
Let’s start with the term bleed, this is the area of artwork that is extended beyond the actual dimensions of the document. It is used to avoid strips of white paper showing around the edges of your print due to any shifting of the image from sheet to sheet when your project is being cut.
Any objects in your artwork that print to the edge of the paper will need to be setup to bleed, for instance a background color that covers the entire page or any objects that creep in from the side.
A bleed of at least .125” is preferred. This .125” accounts for each of the four sides of the page, therefore you should add .25” to the width and height of the entire document, for example:
8.5 x 11” Finished size after trimming bleed
8.5” + .25” = 8.75”
11” + .25” = 11.25”
Document Size Including Bleed = 8.75” x 11.25”
In addition to bleed, you should also add a margin to the inside of the document to avoid having your text or objects looking crowded or even cropped off when the document is trimmed. The amount of margin that looks good varies from .125″ to .5″ depending on the size of the finished piece. The smaller the piece the smaller the margin can be and still look good. A business card will have a much smaller margin than a 3 foot square sign.
Sample of how to set up file in Photoshop:
When creating your document in Photoshop, simply make the calculations to the artwork size as described and enter them into the Width and Height boxes. Since your document size includes the bleed, you will need to set your guides at .125” for bleed and another .25” for margins.
Sample of how to set up file in Illustrator:
When creating your document in Illustrator, enter your page size exactly to size and add a .125” bleed. You will need to set your guides for .25” margins in your document.
Sample of how to set up file in InDesign:
When creating your document in InDesign, you will notice individual options for page size, margin and bleed, simply enter in your figures and let InDesign setup the document for you.
These are the basic how-to’s for file set up that will help us make sure you get the best product. To learn more about how to properly set up your files or get started on your next printing project, contact Rhino Digital Printing today!