Bleed Explained

In the print industry, “bleed” is the area of print that goes beyond where the paper will be trimmed. The bleed area will be trimmed off ensuring that your printed swing tag has the background colour all the way to the edge of the tag. If no bleed is added, you are at risk of having a white border surrounding your swing ticket. 

Once your hang tags have been printed with a 3mm bleed all around, we then use a specialist print guillotine to trim your printed tags to size. For custom shaped swing tags we use a specialist die-cutting machine to trim your clothing tags to size and shape. 

Our specialist guillotine is a high quality paper cutter that can cut through a large number (100+) of paper sheets. The guillotine leaves your hang tags with an accurate and clean cut finish. We use 2 types of blade here at – either our tungsten steel or a high speed steel – both blades are regularly sharpened to ensure a smooth edge on your printed custom clothing tags. 

To ensure your sale tags artwork is set up correctly, download one of our free templates.


electronic printing paper guillotine

How much bleed should I add to my clothing tags?

We advise to add 3mm all around your hang tag artwork, any image or background colours / patterns will need to be extended to the end of this area.

printing document with no bleed

Document set up with no bleed

printing file with 3mm bleed added

Document set up with 3mm bleed

PDF file with 3mm bleed and crop marks

Exported PDF with bleed and crops

How do I add bleed to my swing tags artwork?

Under File > Document set up in the dialog box that says bleed and slug click into the bleed part and add 3mm on each side.

Similar to indesign except File > New will bring up the document dialog box, add 3mm to all sides.

Photoshop does not have a bleed setting so we recommend setting up your document 3mm bigger all around, so if document is to be printed A4 (210x297mm) set up as 216 x 303mm.

screenshot of illustrator bleed set up

Illustrator bleed dialog box

Safe Area

Adding a ‘safe area’ or ‘margin’ to your swing tag design is a key part of the design stage. Not to be confused with bleed, the safe area sits within the artwork and is typically used for text, headings, images and important information. Any clothing tag content outside the safe area is at risk of being cut off! For swing tags, we recommend a margin of at least 5mm. 

Simply download one of our helpful templates to get started. 

Safe Area

To keep your artwork looking clean and aesthetically pleasing we recommend working with a safe area or ‘margin’, not to be confused with bleed this area sits within the artwork and is generally used for text and headings or important information on top of your background area, your type layout on screen can look fine if its a couple of millimetres in from the edge but once it is printed onto its chosen material it will appear cramped and  uneven.
We recommend a margin of at least 5mm for smaller printed items and for larger items such as banners go up to around 25mm.

If you are unsure about bleed and your artwork or have any questions then call us on 023 8087 8037 or email us.

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