We print your image as it is laid out in our Order Wizard and the paper size you receive will match the size (width and height) shown on your order. We then offer the following trim and border options in the final layout page before adding your print to the cart:
No Border (Trim to Bleed)
With Trim to Bleed, the paper is trimmed exactly around your image on all edges, leaving no white border. Trim to Bleed is best used when you need your printed poster to be the exact dimensions of your print with no border, to fit in frames or light boxes. If you order a 24 x 36 poster, the total paper size you receive will be 24 x 36. The paper you receive is cut to match the same size you order. Note that you do not need to include bleed in your files.
Unlike offset printing with mass quantities and cutting machines, large format printing is largely a "by hand" process, meaning your prints are carefully handled and cut by hand on large format cutters. This process can be virtually impossible to precisely cut an exact size. We trim to be within the industry standard of 1/4" of tolerance in either direction (larger or smaller), but we're typically within 1/8" of your requested print size, and we try to error on the larger size rather than cutting off part of your image. This could result in small white borders, which is normal in large format printing.
IMPORTANT: If you do included trim marks or a white border, or white borders appear on screen and in your proof from the order wizard, those trim marks and white borders are considered part of the paper size you are ordering and could be included. In large format printing, paper size and the image size as it's placed on the paper can be different if there is extra information in the file (trim marks) or white borders when the uploaded image doesn't size proportionally to the paper size you are ordering. With large format printing, we focus on the paper size being what you ordered. The actual image size could be different depending in what you uploaded (it could include your trim marks or white borders) so be careful to check your proof. If you are including trim marks in your uploaded file and want those cut out, and need a final paper size to be what is inside your trim marks, you need to order with the Advanced Order Wizard and give us special instructions on checkout that your image includes bleed and what size you want the final trimmed paper to be.
Choose between having a ½ inch, 1 inch, 2 inch or 4” inch border left around the outside of your image. This choice is great for canvas that needs to be wrapped or framed, banners that need to be hung, or other applications where you want extra white space around the outside of your print. If you ordered a 24 x 36 poster with a 2″ border, your finished print would be 24 x 36 on media that is 28″ x 40″. This means you are receiving a poster that is larger than the size print you ordered, as the border is added around the outside of your print.
Sizing for Matting or Frames
Now that you know how trimming works, it's important to remember that if you're trying to get an exact size for a window, frame or for matting, it's highly recommended to order a slightly larger dimension than what you need, especially when placing under matting in a frame. If you order the exact size you need, it's likely you'l come up slightly short on one or more edges, leaving an unsightly gap. It's always better to have just a little extra material, which you can easily trim off with an Xacto knife or razor blade, than not have enough.
Trimming Method / White Edges / Canvas Trimming
Unlike offset printing with machinery and pre-cut materials at common sizes, large format custom size poster printing is a labor intensive process where each print is individually handled and carefully cut with large format cutters. With 'trim to bleed' it can be impossible to cut perfectly along the edge of the print and you may receive a print with a tiny excess sliver of white space (the media around your print). This is necessary to ensure your image itself is not trimmed off. Up to .25" of white at any edge falls within our tolerance / margin of error cutting specifications for all trim methods. It is normal and preferable for you to receive a print with some extra white around the edges so that your image is not cut off. If this interferes with framing, an X-Acto knife can be used for tine tuning when you receive the print.
Canvas cutting is even more difficult, as canvas is a thick media that can fray. Usually even a little more space is left around the edges on trim to bleed to insure your image does not fray. Because we do not frame or mount, this is common and necessary with canvas prints as most of the time you will be mounting or framing when you receive and the edge will be wrapped out of site.