Just trying to follow the document upload specs for one of the web's largest online printers and bleed has confused me.

Their instructions are shown at the bottom of the diagram which shows close ups of their Illustrator template. (My doc will be in InDesign which they don't have a template for.)

Ignoring heights, their Illustator template matches their full bleed width (282 mm) and trim width (279 mm), which I would have thought is a 1.5mm bleed.

But then they say to use a 0.137" (=3.5mm) bleed, which is what the template shows from the safe area and more in line the typical 1/8" bleeds I've come across in past.

What am I missing?

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  • 1
    Depends upon the vendor, and ultimately it doesn't matter provided the bleed is large enough. Realize that many online print vendors "dummy down" their specifications for those not familiar with printing.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 3:22
  • It looks like their technical writer was slightly confused and gave you the minimum overlap per edge. Maybe, drop them a line to verify the contradiction. Better safe than in revisions.
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 4:26
  • Unfortunately it's a big company = I wouldn't even bother trying.
    – jontyc
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 6:44
  • I think I may know where he is talking about and the purpose of the "safe area" and "bleed area" is because they do not pay attention when the mass cut their prints and I have battled in the past with the accuracy and location of design. That is why, to me, it is better to go with small mom and pop shops that care about the smaller person's quality.
    – user9447
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 14:56

2 Answers 2


From a regular printers perspective, bleed is always measured from trim.

  • Don't know that I've ever run across an "irregular" printer. :) But you're right, most (at least all I know of) measure from trim.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 21:08
  • @Scott The irregular ones trim from safe line in. Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 12:14

I've never seen bleed measured from safe.

In my experience, it's always measured from trim, and typically from 3mm to 6mm. As Scott has said, additional bleed usually won't be an issue.

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