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I'm working on a design, that needs to be printed in multiple sizes (mostly in 4:5 ratio, sizes from 8x10 to 32x40 inches). Each printed design should have 0.25'' bleed on each side. Design will consist of just 2 colors, white elements and black background, and the bleeds should be the same color as background. So, for example, 8''x10'' printed design needs to be exactly 8x10 inches when printed, with live area being 7.5''x9.5''(if I set the bleeds as Illustrator allows, printed document would be 8.5''x10.5'').

As I cannot set negative (-0.25'') bleeds, what is the best option to do it properly? To have 0.25 inches ''inside bleed'' on all documents, regardless of size.

Hope I haven't make my question unclear, and thanks in advance.

  • What do you mean by "live area" and "inside bleed"? As far as I know there is no such thing. A bleed is printed onto the paper, and the sheets are trimmed down to size - the bleed is cut off, so to speak. – Billy Kerr Feb 21 '18 at 16:15
  • By live (safety) area I mean the area covered with design elements. Inside bleed, you're right, there's no such thing, maybe border is better word. So live/safety area (covered with design elements) for 8x10 printed design is going to be 7.5x9.5 inches, with equal border on all sizes (0.25 inches). Same goes for 32x40 inches document, 31.5x39.5 covered in design elements, with border around. I cannot think of a best way to setup document(s), so I have this equal border regardless of size. Thanks for your reply. – Jimi Feb 21 '18 at 16:26
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    That's not helping. Please consider drawing a diagram or something. Are you talking about making a margin the same all round a sheet, then it's not a bleed. Use guides or something to make a margin. – Billy Kerr Feb 21 '18 at 16:28
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    OK so use guides. Place them at 0.25" from all sides of the document. @Scott has answered this already - see below. – Billy Kerr Feb 21 '18 at 16:32
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    Illustrator has a funky Video safe-areas feature with the video document templates and I was quick to open up one of these templates in hopes of finding ways to abuse this feature to simulate the Indesign margins. However, I was unable to find anywhere to set the video-safe margin guides in a custom way. – Silly-V Feb 21 '18 at 16:43
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Illustrator doesn't offer margin guides the way applications such as InDesign do.

You can set the bleed amount in the Artboard settings and get guides for the bleed.

But for the safe area you'll need to measure and place guides yourself.

  • I already thought of something like this: imgur.com/N16GC8K I measured and placed the guides myself. I haven't found the bleed amount in the Artboard settings though. Maybe now I'll step off the original question, but is it possible to make 7 artboards in different sizes, all with equal (0.25'') margin, and when I export them into .jpeg to save all 7 files at once? If I could work on one document and automatically update other 6, that would be great bonus. Thanks for your replies. – Jimi Feb 21 '18 at 16:49
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An image (jpg/tif/psd/png) doesn't have a bleed setting. You can't add bleed in any standardized way.

The correct format for print files is PDF since it "knows" its own size, can have multiple pages, can have bleed and crop marks etc. It's the best format for print files. An image is just a "dumb" rectangle containing pixels and will require special attention from the print shop.

A PDF made in Photoshop is in reality an image wrapped in a PDF, so just saving your file as a PDF from Photoshop won't do. You'll have to start using InDesign or Illustrator to make print files.

A "good" workflow could be like this (a very short description, sorry):

  • Create your document in InDesign in the desired dimensions, set the Bleed to 0.25" and take the bleed into account from the very start.
  • All images should be created/edited in Photoshop and then placed in InDesign as linked files. This way you separate design and content. You can move, scale and rotate your images in InDesign without actually changing the image files. And you can edit your images separately without changing the design in InDesign - the images simply update to reflect the changes.
  • All text and vector graphics should be made in InDesign. This ensures a crisper result on print because text and vector prints at a much larger resolution than images. Furthermore, it's just practical to have the text separate from the images.
  • When your artwork is done, you can export a PDF with 0.25" bleed and crop marks.

So, if I were you, I would expand the canvas of each image by 0.25" on all sides and adjust the artwork, then place them in InDesign and export with bleed and crop marks.

You could also just place the images and scale them, if the design allows it.

(BTW, black/white print is just one color. The white color comes from the paper and is not regarded as a "color". You are only using one kind of ink.)

  • Print design is made in Photoshop and Illustrator. Illustrator can save PDFs as well. Also, it's very rare to get print design from InDesign except for books, etc... – LateralTerminal Feb 21 '18 at 17:43
  • @LateralTerminal, I disagree. InDesign can be (and is being) used for almost any kind of print document. Almost every graphic designer I know uses InDesign for everything printed. – Wolff Oct 2 '18 at 13:11

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