Print Basics Part 2: Document Layout


Here are a couple of basic layout terms that are helpful to know and understand for print design:

A guide to basic layout terms

This line indicates the finished size of the piece. It is not printed on the piece, but used to determine the correct layout and typically the design file is built to the final trim size.

Crop Marks, also known as trim marks
Indicates to the printer where to cut the paper. Crop marks are small lines located in each corner of the document. One line shows the horizontal cut, and one shows the vertical cut. Crop marks are placed outside of the trim line so they don’t appear on the final printed piece.

Live Area
The area that is considered safe to keep any important information within. For example, if an ad’s trim size is 8.25 in × 10.25 in, the live area might be 7.75 in × 9.75 in. This takes into consideration the binding if the ad is placed on the left or right of a spread and you don’t want copy to be unreadable if it is too close to the spine.

Bleed Area
The more bleed you can offer, the better. The minimum bleed you need for a printed piece is 0.125 in (1/8 in).

Bleed Marks
Indicates to the printer the boundary of the bleed. Like crop marks, they are small lines located in each corner of the document.

Within the boundaries of the page, the whitespace around the edge of the printed content.

In a multi-page publication, the inside margins (or blank space) between two facing pages.

A placeholder for assisting in the proper layout of a document that will be diecut as part of the finishing process. A dieline is not printed on the final piece but is used to determine correct layout

A guide to the print Dieline