Unless you are a graphic designer or have worked in the printing industry you have probably never heard of bleed. If so, it is time to learn something new as bleed is a vital part of printing and is the key to making sure your artwork looks the same when printed as it does on screen. In this guide we will explain all you need to know about bleed to help you create print ready perfect artwork.

What is bleed?

Bleed is the extra space around your artwork that will be cut off after printing.


Why do you need bleed?

When we print your artwork there are multiple copies on a large sheet which is then cut down to size using a guillotine. Although we try our best, the guillotine isn’t completely accurate so it may cut a few millimetres out. To make sure your artwork reaches the edge of the page we therefore need you to extend your artwork to provide room for this movement. If there is no bleed your artwork may end up having a thin white border.

What size is bleed?

Bleed size can differ depending on the product but usually it is an extra 3mm on each side of your design. For example, a standard business card is 85x55mm at cut size so with bleed added it is 91x61mm. See the table below for bleed sizes for all products.

Business Cards

Standard Business Card 79x49mm 85x55mm 91x61mm
Square Business Card 49x49mm 55x55mm 61x61mm
Mini Business Card 79x36mm 85x42mm 91x48mm
Loyalty Cards 79x49mm 85x55mm 91x61mm
Folded Business Card (Landscape) 104x79mm 110x85mm 116x91mm
Folded Business Card (Portrait) 164x49mm 170x55mm 176x61mm


A7 68x99mm 74x105mm 80x111mm
A6 99x142mm 105x148mm 111x154mm
A5 142x204mm 148x210mm 154x216mm
A4 204x291mm 210x297mm 216x303mm
DL 93x204mm 99x210mm 105x216mm

Stickers (Circle)

25mm 21mm 25mm 27mm
37mm 33mm 37mm 39mm
51mm 47mm 51mm 53mm
64mm 60mm 64mm 66mm

Stickers (Square)

25x25mm 21x21mm 25x25mm 27x27mm
37x37mm 33x33mm 37x37mm 39x39mm
51x51mm 47x47mm 51x51mm 53x53mm

Stickers (Rectangle)

51x25mm 47x21mm 51x25mm 53x27mm
62x33mm 58x29mm 62x33mm 64x35mm
80x45mm 76x41mm 80x45mm 82x47mm
140x94mm 136x90mm 140x94mm 142x96mm

Stickers (Oval)

37x50mm 33x46mm 37x50mm 39x52mm
49x60mm 45x56mm 49x60mm 51x62mm
70x90mm 66x86mm 70x90mm 72x92mm
90x136mm 86x132mm 90x136mm 92x138mm


A3 291x414mm 297x420mm 303x426mm
A2 414x588mm 420x594mm 426x600mm
A1 588x835mm 594x841mm 600x847
A0 835x1183mm 841x1189mm 847x1195mm
Roller Banner 844x1994mm 850x2000mm 856x2106mm


Bookmark 46x142mm 52x148mm 58x154mm
Swing Tag 79x49mm 85x55mm 91x61mm
Tent Card 104x142mm 110x148mm 116x154mm
Mug N/A 196x80mm N/A
Mouse Mat 234x196mm 240x202mm N/A
Badge - 31mm 27x27mm 31x31mm 40x40mm
Badge - 50mm 46x46mm 50x50mm 60x60mm
Coaster 84x84mm 90x90mm 96x96mm

How do you add bleed?

The easiest way to add bleed is when you set up your document. When selecting the size in document setup add a 3mm bleed to each side. If you have already created your artwork on an editing software, you should be able to go back to the document setup to add bleed on and then all you need to do is extend your background colour and/or images to fill the extra space.

If you are creating your artwork on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Adobe Photoshop there isn't an option to add bleed. You will therefore need to make your document/image 3mm bigger on each side at the start and add a guide so you know where the cut line is.

Don’t forget about the safe area!

In addition to bleed, you need to make sure that all the important elements of your artwork are within the safe area. The safe area is the opposite to bleed and is 3mm smaller than the cut size on each side. Please refer to the table above for safe area dimensions.

Need more help?

We hope you are now all clued up on bleed but if you are still feeling confused, don’t worry as our team of graphic designers will check your artwork before it is printed. We also have a free online design studio that already has guides in place to help make sure your artwork is print ready. The green dotted line represents the safe area, the red dotted line represents the cut line and the black line represents the bleed area. Good luck and get creating!