In InDesign when I set up a DIN A4 document, margins are usually set at 12,7mm. I was wondering if this is for a reason and if there are any rules / best practices for margins as to whether one should use a certain width / height or if this is completely up to me, since I would rather like to work with 10mm as it better aligns with my document grid.

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    As far as I understand it (worked at a printers as a student) these settings (margins, gutters, bleed, choke etc) are to provide adequate (read, protected) text display areas on finished printed sheets. When cutting down a multipage booklet 3/4mm could be lost from the middle pages laying proud after folding. The guillotine creates a uniform edge. Ditto the central gutter between facing pages which would hide text in the bind. Bleed allows colour to go the other way beyond the page so you don't get a nasty white border. If in doubt ask your printer Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 18:00

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No rules, this is up to the designer. The 12.7mm is a default (not sure why really), however I have designed many printed items and always set custom margins. Many times I also used 10mm since I like to work with simple numbers. For a larger page count and if using "facing pages" you could consider a larger inner (inside) margin, for example make all sides 10mm except the inner margin which could be 15-20mm.

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  • 12.7 mm is just half inch.
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 14:52
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    12.7mm is also equal to about 36pts which is 3 lines of body text according to Indesign's default baseline grid. Perhaps this is where the convention comes from?
    – johnp
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:05
  • Probably, i never reallly bothered to research the 12.7 since i always change it.
    – Lucian
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:07
  • @crazyqwert, Rafael is correct and that just points out how random it is. 12.7 mm is equivalent to 0.5 inch, and since InDesign was developed in the US, where we use inches, that became the standard default for the program. Ignore it completely and create a design template that works for you.
    – magerber
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 20:18

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