Cut Margins, Bleeds, and Minimum Size for Cuts
Once an order is placed and processed, it goes to our Pre Production team so they can get everything set up for printing.
A big part of that set up process is ensuring customer designs are within our cut safety margins, meet our cut tolerances, and include a bleed if it's needed.
Cut Safety Margins
For all designs created using any of the pre-set shapes available for our products (example: square, state outline, flower, animal outline), we require a 1/8 inch (0.125") cut safety margin for any design element that doesn't fully cover or bleed off the edge of the final piece. If parts of your design are outside of that safety margin but don't bleed off the edge, we'll resize them to fit within that margin before printing your order. This helps make sure your design doesn't get cut off by accident when it's not supposed to.
Usually, any changes we need to make to your design will be hardly noticeable and won't impact the overall look of your design at all. However, there are some instances where making an adjustment could make your design look drastically different. In those cases, we'll always reach out to you first to go over what options are available so you can make the decision that best meets your needs.
Designs intended to be produced as a custom shape, an option currently only available for our Vinyl Decals, will need to meet our Cut Tolerances in order for the final product to be made Cut to Shape. Our cut tolerance is similar to the Cut Safety Margin in the sense that it ensures we're able to fully cut out your design without the vinyl pulling or ripping during the weeding process, or that important elements of your design aren't accidentally removed if they're too small to cut properly.
For text and Vinyl Lettering, the smallest letter height should be at least a quarter of an inch (0.25") in order for us to produce it as Cut to Shape. As an example, let's say you want a vinyl lettering decal of the word Passion. The smallest character in your lettering would be the lowercase a. As long as that a is at least 0.25" in height, we can produce your decal as Cut to Shape. If it's under 0.25" in height, we would set your decal up to print on our clear material with a 1/8" Contour Cut around the outside edge of the design.
Designs with a lot of intricate details like grungy textures or fine lines may need to be simplified or have the lines thickened up in order for us to produce your decal as Cut to Shape. If we find that making those adjustments will significantly alter your design, we'll opt to print your decal on our clear material with the Contour Cut as well.
Learn more about the differences between Cut to Shape and Contour Cut on our How To Tutorials page.
If a design includes a background color, photograph or texture, or design elements like graphics and text that extend all the way to the edge of the final piece and beyond the cut line, that's known as having a Bleed. We require a 1/8 inch (0.125") bleed for any design elements intended to be cut off during production.
You don't need to add a bleed or cut marks in your design for any of our products; we'll take care of that during the Pre Production set up process. In general, it's as easy as simply extending the edge of a graphic or background to meet that 0.125" requirement. Adding a bleed won't alter the final look of your design at all, and will make sure everything stays in place should there be any blade shifting during the cutting process.