How to add bleed to your business card in photoshop for printing

Being that Photoshop doesn’t have a bleed option built in, we will have to manually add bleed to our design to assure a more seamless workflow as we send it to print.

Adding an appropriate bleed to your file will also lead to a more quality and professionally printed product.

Though this quick Photoshop tutorial will focus on business cards. It’s logic, of course, can be applied to any file that requires bleeds for printing.

In the printing industry bleed is a term used to suggest that the background image or colors fill out the complete space of the business card.

In order for this to work and look professional, there are a few things that need to be done.

This quick tutorial is going to assume that you have some experience with Photoshop.

Today we will be starting in Photoshop and finishing up in Indesign in another tutorial.

Though Indesign isn’t necessary for your finished product, it does help with creating an accurate print ready file.

Step #1: Open Photoshop of course.

Once you have Photoshop open navigate to the upper-left hand navigation and click on ‘File’ this will open a drop-down menu with more options.

Hover over and click on new.

adding bleed to business cards in photoshop

Step #2: Photoshop Canvas Size

In the dialog box change the width and height to 3.75 x 2.25 and make sure that your Resolution is set to 300.

tip: In the dialog box you will see the option Name: with ‘untitled-#’ If you plan on using this canvas option often, you can simply add a name and it will create a Preset option that you can choose from next time and it will auto-fill your options.

The standard business card size is 3.5 x 2. The reason that we are adding .25 to the size is because Photoshop does not have a bleed option for the canvas.

photoshop business cards

OK these options and we are only left with things to do before you begin your design.

Step #3: Working With The Guides

Now grab a guide from your left side ruler and place it .125 within your canvas and do the same thing on the right side.

Being that Photoshop doesn’t offer a bleed option to its canvas, we have to manually create a visual replica of where the business card will be cut after it’s printed.

Follow the same two steps with the guides but from the top ruler.

Now you should have 4 guides 1 on each side of the Photoshop canvas.

These guides represent where your cards will be cut after they have been printed.

Anything outside of these lines will be removed.

If you have an image that expands to the edge of the card you will want to make sure the image expands beyond your guides to the edge of the canvas.

Once the business card is cut, you will have the effects of a professional card with bleeds.

photoshop business card guides

Step #4: Understanding The Bleed

As you can see in the next image the background of the business card extends beyond the first guidelines ( bleed marks ).

This will give the impressing that the blue image will extend beyond the edge of the card and leave no sloppy border at the edge.

I also added a second guide. This guide is known as the safe area.

It’s a good idea to make sure that anything you don’t want to be removed from being cut to stay within these guides.

It also adds a typography value to your business card by keeping a uniformed distance from the edge of your business card.

photoshop safe area

I hope this quick Photoshop tutorial helps with creating bleeds within your file.

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