October 22, 2020

Design guide for your projects jacket spine, center labels, and picture disc artwork layers.

What Is a Bleed? 

With any printed product you’ll need to extend your designs 1/8” larger than the desired finish size. The added space is called a bleed. For example an the design size for an LP Insert is 11.25” x 11.25”. The finished size is trimmed down to 11” x 11”.

Why Do I Need A Bleed?

With automated or manual die cutting, it’s difficult to place the cutting blade precisely on target. The amount that the product shifts from the desired cutting location, is called registration. The industry standard tolerance for registration is a 1/8”. Without the use of a bleed, any registration in the cutting location would leave a white boarder where unprinted paper is exposed. With a bleed added to the design the shift is undetectable. If your designs contain a white background a bleed is not required. 

Template Safety Line:

The template safety line is the opposite of the bleed line. It’s purpose it to protect any elements in your design (like text) from being cut off. 

How Does This Apply to Important Parts to your Vinyl Project? 

Center Labels and picture disc artwork: Both products when finished are round. Square products can be more predicable in the direction registration can occur. Circular products are random. They are typically trimmed singularly (picture discs) or in batches (center labels). This means that registration can happen in one direction and then shift to another. Some designs make it difficult to detect registration and others can make it glaring. Things to avoid:

- Keep your text away far away from the safety line. 

- Boarder less designs are ideal. If you’re going to proceed with a boarder the thicker the better. A thin boarder is easier for the eye to detect any change in thickness. 

Label Design - Centered No Registration
Label Design - 1/8" Full Registration

Record Jacket Spines: It’s best to avoid designs that shift in color between the front or back panel and the spine. For example, lets say the spine color is white and the front panel is black. If in trimming the print was to shift forward, the white spine will be detectable on the front cover.  The same applies to the text used on the spine itself. Best practice is to keep the text no taller than an 1/8” and place it centered on the spine. 

Jacket - layout centered
Jacket - full 1/8" registration