Manufacturing variance

The quality of modern industrial printing is truly exceptional. But, as with any mechanical process, there can be the tiniest of variances.

Trim, bleed and quiet areas

Even the best printing machines in the world require small margins for error. Occasionally, as incredibly sharp cutting blades fall and trim paper to size, there can be a minute shift in the placement of the hundreds or thousands of sheets of paper that are layered for the print run. This can result in incredibly small changes (up to 0.125”) from piece to piece.

This is the reason projects need ‘bleed’, where you print beyond your trim line. This means that if there is a small cutting variance, there will be no unprinted edges exposed. Always add bleed to your print files and also take into consideration our recommended quiet area to keep any important design elements away from the page edge.

Full bleed printing file setup

Similarly, when printing 4 color CMYK ink from metal plates in very high volume offset print runs, it’s possible for colors to move very slightly. To help prevent this, we strategically print lighter colors first, followed by the darker colors, to ensure you don’t see white lines between two blocks of color if any manufacturing variance occurs.

Illustration of bleed, quiet area, and trim line on a booklet cover page
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