Safety Margin and Bleed

Safety margin and bleed are an important consideration in your design. 

Safety Margin

When creating your design, any important content (text and graphics) should be placed away from the edge (or trim line) to avoid being trimmed due to the unavoidable shifts that may occur during the production process. The safety margin we recommend is at least 0.125".

The safety margin can be defined in InDesign during the document setup process or in the Margins and Columns section under Layout. In Illustrator and Photoshop, you will have to set up these guides in the document.

Setting up proper safety margins will help avoid having your objects look as if they are about to fall off the page and ensure they are not trimmed off.


While the safety margin is inside the trim line, bleed is the artwork that extends past the trim line or finished size. If any element of your artwork is designed to be printed to the edge, it must be extended past the trim line and into the bleed area by a minimum of 0.125".

The addition of bleed compensates for uncontrollable shifts that occur during the printing and trimming process; and ensures that any content touching the edges does not leave unwanted gaps or borders.

Note that the bleed area (and crop marks) will be visible on online PDF proofs supplied by our Prepress team, but they will be trimmed off - only the artwork within the trim line will be on your finished product. See: How to apply bleed.



  • Artwork does not extend past the crop marks (trim size)
  • Bleed is not a seamless extension of the design


  • Artwork extends past the crop marks and covers the bleed area on all sides
  • Bleed is a seamless extension of the artwork

Standard Business Card Specifications

Finished Size 3.5" x 2"    
Finished Size with Bleed  3.75" x 2.25" +0.125" on all sides
Safety Area 3.25" x 1.75" -0.125" on all sides

NB. Certain products may have larger safety margins (such as Wood and Pulp stocks).



Download our Standard Business Card Template here. 

See also: How to calculate bleed and safety margin

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