How to add cut line & bleed to existing design

Hi all,

Drawing a bit of a blank here as it's not something we do regularly, but we need to add some bleed and contour cut line to a small design we've been provided by a client. Since there is a drop shadow, adding a couple of mm of bleed and adding a cut line isn't as easy as first thought. Any ideas on how to do this and achieve a somewhat accurate representation of the original artwork? I have a preference for 2mm bleed to allow for variances between print and cut, but the shadows and corners make it more difficult than normal. I hope I'm just tired and missing something simple. We use Illustrator have have vector/PDF artwork.



Very Active Member
I think Flexi's color trapping option could work but in Illustrator I'm not sure how to go about it in a quick smart fashion.
Using brute force for a dirty solution I copied the layer 4 times worked on them one at a time.
1.Combined the original shadow and letters to make the cut line - in cyan hide that layer.
2. Use the path offset on the shadow and then cut the inner edge back with gold letters - hide those.
3. Use the path offset on the gold and then cut them back using the drop shadow.
4. Unhide all the layers and reordered them until it looked like what I wanted.
If the cut goes off too far the color will be there but the joints between the shadow and letters will be off.
Not sure you can do much about that because it will depend on how the cut shifts out of place.
Could make some test print/cuts on cheap material then use the shape builder to massage the problem corners into the shape you need.
bleed cut.jpg
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Thanks for the replies and effort so far. The video was far more than I expected.
Shame we don't use Flexi, as it looks to be a notch above Illustrator in this instance.

I think we'll have to resign to ewded's suggestion on this one. Just found out that the install is going to be nearly 8 feet about ground level, and lettering only 8" high, so any small discrepancies should be virtually invisible at that distance.

Once again, I appreciate the suggestions and hope they can assist others in the future.

Johnny Best

Very Active Member
Illustrator: outline fonts, copy, pathfinder, unite, Object, path, offset path. Put in your 2mm offset path and take your offset path and line up using align tool to your copied text of the gold with drop shadow.