I need to have more understanding of printer marks and bleeds when printing. I have done a little bit of research for this. The first thing I found was for adobe illustrator. When adding the printers marks. This was copied from


About printer’s marks

When you prepare artwork for printing, a number of marks are needed for the printer device to register the artwork elements precisely and verify correct color. You can add the following kinds of printer’s marks to your artwork:

Trim Marks Fine (hairline) horizontal and vertical rules that define where the page should be trimmed. Trim marks can also help register (align) one color separation to another.

Registration Marks

 Small targets outside the page area for aligning the different separations in a color document.

Color Bars

 Small squares of color representing the CMYK inks and tints of gray (in 10% increments). Your service provider uses these marks to adjust ink density on the printing press.

Page Information

 Labels the film with the name of the artboard number, the time and date of printout, the line screen used, the screen angle for the separation, and the color of each particular plate. These labels appear at the tops of the images.

Printer’s marks


Star target (not optional)


Registration mark


Page information


Trim marks


Color bar


Tint bar

Add printer’s marks

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Select Marks & Bleed on the left side of the Print dialog box.
  3. Select the kinds of printer’s marks you want to add. You can also choose between Roman and Japanese-style marks.
  4. (Optional) If you select Trim Marks, specify the width of trim-mark lines and the offset distance between the trim marks and the artwork.
    To avoid drawing printer’s marks on a bleed, be sure to enter an Offset value greater than the Bleed value.

About bleeds

Bleed is the amount of artwork that falls outside of the printing bounding box, or outside the crop area and trim marks. You can include bleed in your artwork as a margin of error—to ensure that the ink is still printed to the edge of the page after the page is trimmed or that an image can be stripped into a keyline in a document. Once you create the artwork that extends into the bleed, you can use Illustrator to specify the extent of the bleed. Increasing the bleed makes Illustrator print more of the artwork that is located beyond the trim marks. The trim marks still define the same size printing bounding box, however.

The size of the bleed you use depends on its purpose. A press bleed (that is, an image that bleeds off the edge of the printed sheet) should be at least 18 points. If the bleed is to ensure that an image fits a keyline, it needs to be no more than 2 or 3 points. Your print shop can advise you on the size of the bleed necessary for your particular job.

Add a bleed

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Select Marks & Bleed on the left side of the Print dialog box.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Enter values for Top, Left, Bottom, and Right to specify the placement of the bleed marks. Click the link icon  to make all the values the same.
    • Select Use Document Bleed to use the bleed settings defined in the New Document dialog box.

    The maximum bleed you can set is 72 points; the minimum bleed is 0 points.


This information was taken from


In printing, the term “Bleed” means that the ink coverage extends all the way to the edge of the paper.

Examples of Ink Bleed on Business Cards

To illustrate, look at the business card shown asExample 1. The ink on this card Bleeds on three sides – left,  right and bottom. This is because the ink is touching these three edges of the business card.  The ink coverage does not touch the top edge of the card, therefore the ink on this card does not Bleed at the top.

Now look at Example 2. This card Bleeds on all four sides because the ink coverage extends to all four edges. This is called a Full Bleed.

Finally, we have Example 3.  Notice that no ink coverage extends to any of this card’s edges. This means the ink on this card does NOT Bleed.

In most cases, to produce a printed piece with a Bleed, the printer must print the artwork on paper that is larger than the actual size desired. Then the larger paper is trimmed down to its final size.

Why Learn about Bleeds?

Understanding Bleeds is important because it affects the way the original artwork file must be set up. To create a bleed, the artwork must be designed to be larger than the final cut size.

In the case of a 2″ x 3.5″ business card with full ink bleed, the artwork is designed to measure 2.25″ x 3.75″. This is so the artwork extends .125″ (1/8″) beyond each edge that will get trimmed off. This ensures that no white area shows at the edge of the card after trimming.



How do I add bleed to my design?

Adobe Photoshop

  1. Open Photoshop and click File > New…
  2. Enter the FULL BLEED dimensions. That is, 1/4″ extra both vertically and horizontally.
  3. Set the Resolution at 300 pixels/inch
  4. Set the Color Mode to CMYK





For my fish menu: here is an example of no bleed. The printing is done in the middle of an A4 brown recycled paper.


animalsworld 17

For thsi book cover,  I probably could have extended this to the back cover of the book. But this should have had more information about bleed and print marks. From now on, I will do more extensive research on what I am printing on, what is the bleed, and show to color and printing marks. I will plan before beginning my work. For the image above, it should really have bleed on all 4 side at 1/4 an inch. But then it would cut off the bottom text. It would have been better to think of this before hand. Especially if I want to be a working professional illustrator.

I can add guide to photo shop to help me then select bleed in the printing section.  I will have to be clear and have a good relationship with my printers.




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