Do I have to include a bleed when designing die cut stickers?

The short answer is no.

Our design team will add a bleed to your die cut stickers for you. But if you have specific requirements or ideas on how you would like your bleed to look, you can either submit your own or let us know when you place your order.

Read on if you want to learn more about what bleeds are and how they are used.

What is a bleed?

A bleed is an area beyond your cutline. Your cutline marks the edge of your stickers and is indicated by a magenta line on your design proof.

When your design extends beyond the cutline, this extension is called a bleed.

A bleed ensures your design goes all the way to the edge after cutting and won't have an unsightly white edge.

The image below illustrates shows the cutline (in pink), and the colour extending beyond that is the bleed.

Custom VW design with a rectangle cutline and an added bleed

Why die cut stickers need a bleed

The bleed area functions as a safety net when cutting your stickers. It has 3 functions:

  • Make your stickers look awesome
  • Allows for tiny tolerances during cutting
  • It ensures that your designs extends right to the edge of the cutline

    When manufacturing stickers, we work with tight tolerances to create intricate custom shapes. Adding a bleed gives the machines some wriggle room.

    Think back to your arts and crafts days as a child. Imagine you are colouring in a flower that you want to cut out later. To be sure that each part of your flowers is coloured, you might colour outside the lines just a little.

    This is precisely what a bleed is for. We extend the colour of your stickers a bit to ensure the ink is evenly spread to the very edge of your die cuts.

    How to add a bleed to your die cut stickers

    For graphic designers, adding a bleed will not be a challenge. But if you are using graphic design programme for the first time, it can be a little complicated.

    You can add a bleed in Adobe Illustrator by clicking the function "offset path". You can then redirect the edge of your stickers by around 2 mm.

    Here is a video that explains this step-by-step:

    In CorelDRAW, this function is called "contour" and means that a 2mm contour will be added around your artwork.

    If you are not comfortable using these programs, do not worry. Our design team will action that for you.

    What will my bleed look like?

    There are two ways we add bleeds to custom shaped stickers.

    Background colour

    Your die-cut stickers might include a coloured border. If so, we simply extend that colour slightly to ensure it goes all the way to the edge of your stickers and die line.

    Material colour

    We can also work with the colour of your material. Instead of using colour, the border around your stickers can simply consist of the material they are printed onto.

    If you choose a white vinyl or biodegradable paper sticker, this can be a white background, or it can be a holographic edge if you opt for holographic stickers.

    What is the difference between a bleed and a cut line?

    The main difference between a bleed and a cut line is that a die cut line indicates the shape of your stickers whereas a bleed is just a safety feature.

    Both your cut line and your bleed are part of your die cuts during the printing process.

    Eventually, your stickers are cut along the cutlines to create the shape you ordered. The cut line represents the custom shape of your stickers.

    The bleed area does not affect the shape of your sticker. It is simply an added border that protects your stickers. In the example below, you can see the cut line in the sticker design. The bleed would simply be 2 mm added after the cut line.

    Example of a design proof of a die cut sticker with a bleed and a cutline added

    And now you are a bleed expert ready to tackle your next sticker order.

    You can also learn more about the top features of die cut stickers.

    If you need any help, please do not hesitate to ask our experts. You can also take our quiz to find your perfect material.

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.