Printer marks are almost the blueprints for your notebook, which guide the printer to what needs trimmed, folded or centred. The printer marks act as a guide to enable perfect edges and to ensure your artwork sits exactly where you want it to sit. These marks will be printed but will not be included in your final artwork: they will be physically cut off in post press. All files being sent to print should have a bleed of 3mm. A bleed is the area of your image that stretches beyond where the paper will be cut, this is to ensure the placement is correct and the and no white borders appear when using full bleed images. For more information on how to set up Bleed see Bleed.
In Photoshop and InDesign to see your file’s printer marks go to
File > Print > Printing Marks (Photoshop) or Marks and Bleed (InDesign) from there you can select either All Printer’s Marks or individual marks.
How to Create Printer Marks in Adobe Illustrator
Create crop marks in Adobe Illustrator by drawing a box using the rectangle tool (M) with no stroke or fill color the same size and position as the final trim. Using the direct selection arrow (the white arrow tool), click on the box. In your color window, turn off the stroke by clicking the red diagonal line (none).
Now click EFFECT > CROP MARKS (for all versions of Adobe Illustrator). You may also use OBJECT > CREATE TRIM MARKS (this is only available for Adobe CS6 and above). Lines will appear on each corner of the box. With the box still selected, click OBJECT > EXPAND APPEARANCE. You can now modify your crop marks, if needed.
Set your art board in Adobe Illustrator to the final piece size. You can set this when you click FILE > NEW and put your measurements in under length and width. If your art board is already open, select FILE > DOCUMENT SETUP > EDIT ARTBOARDS and resize if needed.
Once you are done creating the file, you can save it as a press quality PDF by going to FILE > SAVE AS > ADOBE PDF (file format).
A window will open – choose Press Quality PDF from the Adobe Presets dropdown at the top. On the left, select MARKS AND BLEEDS and click trim marks. You can also set your registration marks by clicking on the Registration Marks box.
NOTE: The default trim mark thickness may be less the the required minimum line thickness for your plate type, so adjust this to be higher, if needed.
Fine (hairline) rules that define the amount of extra area to image outside the defined page size.
Small “targets” outside the page area for aligning the different separations in a color document.
Small squares of color representing the CMYK inks. Your printer uses these marks to adjust ink density on the printing press.
Prints the filename, page number, current date and time, and color separation name in in the lower-left corner of each sheet of paper.