What Do Crop Marks and Bleed Mean on Canva

In this guide, you will learn all about crop marks and bleeds, what they mean, and why we need them on Canva.

What do crop marks and bleed mean on Canva

What do crop marks and bleed mean on Canva?

The meaning of crop marks and bleed on Canva refers to a guide or reference on where to cut, and to ensure that your design extends beyond these marks to eliminate any risk of unprinted edges after trimming.

Crop marks and bleed are important design elements added to a Canva design as necessary guidelines for printing purposes.

If crop marks and bleed are not provided in the print files, it may lead to white gaps on the edges or some important parts of the finished product may risk getting cut off.

In practice, imagine you’re creating a brochure in Canva. You would use bleed to extend your background image or color beyond the edge of your page.

Then, you would use crop marks when printing to guide your trimming process, ensuring a professional and polished end product.

Read on to learn more in-depth about what are crop marks and bleed individually in this article.

What are Crop Marks?

Crop marks, also known as trim marks, are lines placed at the corners of an image or a document to show where it should be trimmed post-printing.

They serve as guides for printers and designers and are essential when you want to cut your design accurately without compromising the layout or design elements.

To fully understand why you need to have crop marks and bleed on print-ready files, you will have to first understand the production process of print designs.

Importance of Crop Marks

Crop marks play a crucial role in ensuring that your designs are cut precisely to your desired size, minimizing any chance of error.

Without them, you risk having uneven margins or, worse, cutting off important elements of your design. They are particularly critical in professional printing jobs where precision is paramount.

How to Use Crop Marks in Canva

Canva’s interface makes using crop marks a breeze. When you download your design as a PDF, you can opt to include crop marks. These will then appear on the downloaded file, serving as a guide when you or your printer trim the design.

What is Bleed in Canva?

Bleed’ in graphic design is a term used to describe elements that extend beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. It’s an extra amount of space that gives a buffer for minor inconsistencies in the cutting process.

In Canva, the bleed ensures that your backgrounds and images reach right to the edge of your design, leaving no unprinted edges when trimmed.

Bleed is an extra part of your design extended out of the edges of your final size to give the printer some allowance for errors when cutting the final printed design.

Why Bleed is Essential

Bleed is crucial for achieving professional print results. Without it, a slight shift during the cutting process could result in unprinted edges, disrupting your design’s flow and aesthetics.

By extending elements beyond the trim line, the bleed ensures a seamless look, even if the cut isn’t perfectly aligned.

Setting Up Bleed in Canva

In Canva, when you are preparing your design for printing, you can add a bleed area. You can adjust your design elements to extend into this area to ensure that they’ll run right to the edge when printed and trimmed.

Why Do We Need Crop Marks in Printing?

add crop marks to design for printing

When you submit a print-ready file to the print shop, your file will be printed on oversized paper rather than the exact size. The printed file will then be cut or trimmed to the size you’ve requested for.

Crop marks are indicators to show printers which part of the file is the required design, where’s the bleed area and where are the right parts to be cut or trimmed away.

Without the crop marks, printers will not know if the area trimmed off is part of the required design or not.

This will leave them to trim off areas based on their own individual judgment, leading to unprofessional results.

Although crop marks can be seen in the final design file and final print, they will be removed and not seen in the finished size.

Why Do We Need Bleed In Printing?

What Do Crop Marks and Bleed Mean on Canva

After printing on a larger sheet of paper, it has to be trimmed to the size required. The printing is not done on the exact document size because there may not be the exact paper size available.

Even with the right paper size, shifting of paper may happen during printing due to the machine’s inaccuracies, which can leave white edges or the color of your paper on your printed documents.

If the background of your design happens to be white or the color of your paper, you can still print it without bleed.

But if you have designs at the very edge of the paper that are of different colors to the paper, there’s a risk of cutting off part of your designs or leaving unwanted white lines, a white border, or any color of the paper at the edges without bleed.

Bleed provides a safe zone or allowance for the printer to trim the paper slightly bigger or smaller than the actual required size in case of any printing errors. The bleed area will be trimmed away and not retained as part of the final product.

You may also wish to check out my other guide on How to Highlight Text in Canva.

Should I Select Crop Marks and Bleed in Canva?

If you are printing your designs with commercial printers, you should select crop marks and bleed in Canva.

This is important for all items that you want to be printed especially if you have a background color or any designs at the edge of the document. Crop marks and bleed are also known as printer’s marks.

It’s a good idea to save your design as a PDF file or a Portable Document Format file. Of all file formats, PDF formats are the best for printing because it retains the highest quality of your artwork and allows your printer the flexibility to adjust for the print job.

How Do I Add Crop Marks and Bleed on Canva?

Adding crop marks and bleed in Canva is as easy as adding crop marks in Adobe Indesign and Adobe Illustrator files.

Before that, you will have to adjust your design edges such that the artwork is extended out of the actual page size. The first step is to see what your document looks like with the full bleed. But what must you do to show bleed on Canva?

How to Show Bleed on Canva

With your final document opened on Canva, select File in the top menu. Select Show Print Bleed in the dropdown menu.

You will start to see dotted lines appear around the edges of your design, known as the trim line.

There is also an extra white space around the edge of the page. That’s about 3mm of space you need to fill up or extend from your current design.

how do I add crop marks and bleed on canva

How to Add Crop Marks and Bleed on Printed Area

Now that you’ve adjusted your design to add a full bleed around the page, you are ready to prepare it for print. Select the Share button and click on Download.

Share and download image for print on canva

Then, under File Type, click on PDF Print. Select the Crop marks and bleed option. Input your desired pages to be printed, and under Color Profile, select CMYK (available on Canva Pro).

how to add crop marks and bleed on Canva

Final Thoughts On Crop Marks And Bleed On Canva

Understanding crop marks and bleed in Canva can significantly improve the quality of your printed designs. While it might seem a bit technical at first, once you get the hang of it, it becomes a seamless part of your design process.

Crop marks are your guides for precision cutting, and bleed is your safeguard against unprinted edges. Together, they are the dynamic duo of the print design world!

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