26 May 2009
Last Updated on 19 May 2011
[caption id="attachment_226" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="Golf Example"][/caption]
We all learn from one another. Sometimes watching what someone else does can change the way we approach things ourselves. As designers we are no different. Often we get inspiration from the work of a fellow artist. Unfortunately, this same principle works in the negative as well! We can easily see what NOT to do by learning from the mistakes of others.
If you've been designing any length of time, chances are you're familiar with 3 basic terms of post-production that have to be accounted for in any advertising design. Got 'em?
The concepts I'm referring to are, Live Area, Trim Line and Bleed Area.
Live Area refers to the "safe-zone", this area is close enough to the inside of the page that any text or images that are imperative to the design will not be cut off when the edges are cut off or bound in a magazine or other publication.
Trim Line is the actual "cut-line" where the trim is SUPPOSED to happen. Clearly if that were always precise there would be no need for the Live Area or Bleed Area, but alas, machines are not perfect. When a 100,000 magazines are being mass-produced I'm sure you can understand that a little shifting can occur and the cut will not always be EXACTLY on that line.
Bleed Area is the space on the outside of the Trim Line that accounts for any trim shifting that may occur to the outer edge of the ad. This eliminates the likelihood of there being an awkward white line that is not covered by the advertisement or unintentional edges to the piece.
Recently, I learned an important lesson that really made me chuckle on this particular topic. Now, what made it even funnier this particular time is that the mistake was made by an internationally known brand. They had sent a print-ready ad to be placed in a booklet.
Going what they thought was the extra mile they had added a series of dotted and dashed lines to the ad to indicate the Live Area, Trim Line and Bleed Area, each line was accompanied by a corresponding Word and Arrow. It looked great, until I opened the file in Photoshop and realized that the image they had actually sent me was flattened into a JPEG and their "template" was flattened on top of the ad.
To protect the guilty party here and save any embarrassment I have recreated the effect on a generic a 'dummy ad'. The moral of the story? Make sure you remove your templates before sending in your artwork, or send layers. We can all learn from others---the good and the mistakes!