Print Primer Part 2: A Five-Term Print Glossary

Print Primer Part 2: A Five-Term Print Glossary

By Lyndsey Warner Caulkins

In part one of our Print Primer we discussed how pixels and resolution affect your print projects. In part two, we discuss the technical measurements that your designer uses to prep a document for print. Print sizing can be confusing if you don’t have the vocabulary. Here are a few terms to get you started.

Print “Specs”
Print specifications, or “specs” is the term designers, printers and publishers use for the different types of measurements needed to complete a project: live/safe area, bleed, trim size/final size, crop marks

Live area/Safe area
The live area is the area that is given to a designer so they can plan for binding or other print elements that may cover a portion of the design. It tells the designer where to keep the important design elements within the page so that binding does not cover up text.

The bleed is the extra paper and ink that extend beyond the final size of your document. This section is trimmed off to the size of your document, so graphics and color can extend to the edge of the page.

Trim size/Final size
This is the final size of the page once printed and cut.

Crop Marks
Crop marks are small measuring marks that tell your printer where to cut the bleed from your document in order to create the final/trim size.

Crop sizing

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