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Why does packaging manufacturer not recommend printing with borders?

You may think it’s quite easy for label manufacturer and postcard manufacturer for printing the design with borders, but borders can be an issue in printing. When cutting many sheets at one time by machine, cuts may shift up to 1/8″ of an inch, which will make the cutting process for printed materials has a mechanical tolerance which is +/- 1-3 millimeters. The image below shows how this slight shift can affect the borders that are printed over the edge of a printing.

round sticker

The human eye is so perceptive that even a fractional shift will be visible making the border look out of alignment – thicker on one side than others.

For this reason, we often recommend removing borders from the edge design ahead of time or insetting the border at least 1/4″ from the printing’s edge.

How to print with borders?

If you really want your design with a border, please make sure your border is along your design edge and extend the border beyond the outside cut line, rather than a line border close to the cutting line.

Bad example:

When borders are designed and printed too close to the cut line, it is very common for the final print product to look uneven. The closer the border is to the cut line, the greater the chance of the print product looking uneven.

black sea sticker with border
Black sea sticker label with a border that looks uneven for the final product

Good example:

If your printed piece calls for a border along its edge, it is essential that you need to extend that border 1/4″ beyond the outside cut line, in order to ensure that it prints properly. Otherwise, you might run into issues when the piece is cut to its finished size.

Borders with bleeds instruction

Border thickness is important because if it is too thin, the border may look uneven after cutting. However, the shift can certainly occur, because cuts may be shifting when cutting many sheets at one time by machine. So the thicker the border, the better the results can make it less noticeable.

And for smaller pieces, the shift in cutting tolerance will be more likely and more noticeable.

Let more people know!