Setting Up Your Production File Properly

Bleeds and Safe Line Margins

When designing your product for print, it is important to be aware of the size difference between the production document – which you are working on, and the final product, which will be trimmed down after printing. For example, if you’ve designed your own business card, you should consider that typically the production document has dimensions 3.75” x 2.25” which will be trimmed down to 3.5” x 2”. You can refer to the diagram below. 

Note that the outside border (the bleeds) will be the portion that gets trimmed off. So, any content that goes beyond the red line it will be trimmed off. The red line indicates the finished product size. Also, make sure that all important content, including your logo, relevant text and information, is within the Safe Line border shown on the diagram with a green colour.


Background Colours and Images

Another thing worth noting is that if you have a background color or image it should extend beyond the safe line all the way to the outer edge of the bleed (the full 3.75 “). That way you ensure that you are not left with any white borders after the trimming has been done.

Crop Marks

After you’ve ensured that your file’s dimensions match the final product size, and that the bleeds are accounted for, it is important to add crop marks to the production artwork that you’ve designed. Crop marks will serve as an indication of where the printed product should be trimmed. In most design software, this can be done when you export your file as PDF before printing. In the case that this option is not available, it is recommended that when you setup your production file initially, you set the dimensions to include the bleeds, and then the crop marks will be added by us.


The artwork you’ve created should be 300 dpi in order to achieve a high quality print. Make sure the text is outlined (converted to curves) and that the images you used are embedded.

Please Note

The above guidelines apply for any production file setup and is not restricted to business cards. It is important that you know the dimensions given above are only used as an example. However, the bleeds and safe line margins are always 0.125”, regardless of the production file’s size.