I'm designing a business card for a client, and they have asked to use a geometric repeating pattern as a background on part of the card.

Initially I thought of placing the pattern flush against the edges of the card, but I'm not sure if its possible to guarantee that the edges of the pattern will line up. I can extend the pattern into the bleed, but I would like the edge of each atomic unit of the pattern to align on the edge of the card. This is an example and this the repeating pattern.

2 Answers 2


Stock shifts and moves in minor amounts on a trimmer. You can not guarantee absolute precision when trimming.

With a good reproduction house, variations are very minute. With an online print vendor, you can expect bigger variations - not necessarily in overall trim size, but in trim locations.

If precise trim position is imperative, I would certainly speak with the production house regarding it. I, personally, feel it's slightly haphazard to design expecting precise trim locations. This is why bleeds exist. If trimming were precise there would never be a need for a bleed.

  • So if my going in this direction required exactness - would you know the probability (%) that a good printer would get it right? Just trying to make a decision whether to go down this road Jul 20, 2013 at 6:48
  • I don't think it's a viable path to pursue, to be honest. You will most likely never find any production house which could trim every piece precisely and I'd wager to say you'd find most production houses would not even consider making any such claim.
    – Scott
    Jul 20, 2013 at 6:49
  • Ok, great thanks for the info! Thats kind of what I thought might be the case. Will figure something else out. Jul 20, 2013 at 6:52

If you have a good relationship with your printer you could point out that there is a tricky cut and ask them to trim less sheets at a time. the biggest cause of trim shift is trying to cut too many sheets at once.

if the trim needs to be super precise and you're prepared to pay more for finishing, you could get them punch or drum cut which will be a near perfect finish, but slower and dearer.

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