Before you send your documents to your print broker to print, you need to make sure you have print-ready files so your final project will print properly. For this, you need to look at the trim marks, trimmed page size, bleed and safety.

The first area of the print-ready files your print broker needs to look at are the trim marks. These are marks on the page that show both the horizontal and vertical cut lines on the page. While setting up your layout, place these beyond the area you want to be visible.

With your pages trimmed, you want to be sure the final page sizes are where you intend them to be. When working with your print broker, it is a good idea to let him know the final print size in advance so he can select the appropriate paper size. This will help to make sure your final job looks just as you intended.

Thirdly, if you are using borders, images or color that extend beyond the edge of the page, you will need to have bleed marks to ensure your print-ready files turn out as professional as possible. The standard bleed is 1/8”. Otherwise, there is a chance you will have a line of white on your pages where the bleed should be. Each print job will have its own unique bleed range and you will want to speak to your printer about the requirements for these bleeds.

Finally, safety is another area you need to focus on. While you want the bleed to extend beyond the live area of a page, you need to be certain essentials fall within the safety area. The standard safety margin is .”. Anything smaller than .” may be cut off. This is the safe distance.

Since these can vary from one print job to the next, you need to speak with your print broker to make sure your print-ready files are truly ready to be sent to him. Understanding these four essential parts of printing allows you make certain your printed product turns out the way you expect it to be.

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