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Do I have to include a bleed when designing stickers?

The short answer is no. Our design team will add a bleed to your artwork for you. But if you do 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 usually a white border that is added around the cut line of your stickers. Your cut line marks the edge of your stickers. It is indicated by a magenta line on your digital design proof.

The bleed is not part of your design proof, as it will be added around the edge of your cut line and eventually be cut during the cutting process.

The difference between a bleed and a cut line

Both your cut line and your bleed are part of your stickers during the printing process. Eventually, your stickers are cut along the cut lines to create the exact 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

Why stickers need a bleed

The bleed area functions as a safety net for your stickers. It has two functions:

  • It protects your stickers during the cutting process.

  • It ensures that the ink extends all the way to the cut lines.

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 exactly 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 stickers

For graphic designers, adding a bleed will not be a challenge. But if you are using graphic design programmes 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.

In CorelDRAW, this function is called "contour" and means that a 2 mm 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?

Custom stickers have intricate shapes. There are two ways we add bleeds to custom shapes 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.

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

If you need any help, please so not hesitate to ask our experts. You can also take our quiz to find your perfect material or get your hands on some custom samples to test your design.