01206 542060 / 07721 772692 kathy@designsweet.co.uk

Bleed & Crops – what are they?

Trim marks, tick marks or crop marks

Most printing is done on larger sized paper. So A4 leaflets might be printed ‘2 to view’ on SRA3 paper and cut down to A4. Crop marks or ‘crops’ show the guillotine operator where to trim the sheet. Most professional programmes (and Publisher!) allow you to add crops to your work. And yes, you need crop marks even if you don’t have bleed so that your job can be cut to the correct size. Always include crop marks if you can.

And Bleed?

When you bleed a document, that is, extend an item off the edge of the page it goes a ‘bleed’ area. Bleed is important. If you don’t add ‘bleed’ and the object stops at the edge of the paper, when the guillotine blade trims/crops close to the object it could miss by a tiny amount – then you would have a sliver of white on the printed piece – highly undesirable. Bleed should be 3mm on each edge. Take a look at the picture to see what you should be doing.

Image showing the bleed area, and crop marks for a printed piece

Which file format is best for a logo?

Are you confused about TIFFs, JPEGs, GIFs, EPS, PNG and BMP files?
Many designers find it difficult to understand all the different types of image format, and it is even harder for non-designers, but here is a very simple guide.

Vector files
A vector file is one which consists of points and lines, rather than pixels. The advantage of a vector logo is that the file size is small and yet the image can be enlarged to almost any size, with no loss of quality.
The most common vector file is an EPS, which stands for Encapsulated Postscript.
When you create a logo for distribution it is wise to convert any fonts to outlines. I find it amzing that many large organisations give out logos where the type is not outlined. If the logo is used by someone without that particular font installed on their computer, the file may not display correctly.
EPS files are most suitable for print purposes, and if using them for print they should be in CMYK  or Pantone colours and they can also be saved in RGB format for use on the web.

Bitmap files
A bitmap is made up of pixels (blocks of colour).  They can be used for both print and web purposes. If you want to use the logo just on the web the file only needs to be 72dpi (dots per inch) – which means that it will be a small file size. A logo on the web at 50mm x 20mm would be about 25k. If you want to use the same logo on a printed job at 250m wide then the file size would need to be about 2000k (2mb)
You can use bitmap logos in print but the larger the logo is used the larger the file needs to be. The vector file means that logo with a small file size can be enlarged to any size.

There are many different bitmap file names – here are just a few you will come across.

JPEG or JPG (acronym for the Joint Photographic Experts Group which created the standard)
A JPEG is a ‘lossy compression’ which means that it compresses data by losing some of it, and therefore the file size is reduced. A disadvantage of a JPEG is that if you keep resaving as a JPEG, the quality will reduce and it will become noticeably bitmapped.

TIFF (Tagged Image file format)
Conventionally used for print purposes.  A TIFF file does not lose quality when resaved.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
This bitmap image format was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and is widely used on the web.  The files can be transparent and therefore placed over different background colours. It is suitable for simple graphics with solid areas of colour.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
PNG was created to improve upon and replace GIF and employs lossless data compression. It is a good method of saving logos with a transparent background.

BMP (Bitmap image file)
This is similar to a TIFF file and is typically used on Microsoft Windows and OS/2 operating systems.

There are lots of other file formats out there.  If you are a ‘don’t know’ or a ‘not sure’, ask your designer.

How big is this paper?

Paper sizes have changed over the years. We no longer have ‘Double elephant’, ‘Duchess’, ‘Folio’, ‘Foolscap’ and other wonderful names. Since metrication we use the ISO 216 A series paper sizes – although in the early 1980s ‘Foolscap’ was still in use in many offices.

The A sizes are all based on the same ratio and follow certain rules:

  • The length divided by the width is 1.4142
  • The A0 size has an area of 1 square metre.
  • Each subsequent size A(n) is defined as A(n-1) cut in half parallel to its shorter sides.
  • The standard length and width of each size is rounded to the nearest millimetre.

This means that the smaller the number the larger the sheet! So A4 is bigger than A5 and so on…

a visual of the A series of paper sizes