All About Bleeds

WHAT IS A BLEED?

In printing, a “bleed” is when part of the design is printed right to the edge of the paper. In these cases, the artwork needs to be adjusted to extend beyond the finished page size. If your job has a white margin on all edges, then a bleed is not required. See the examples below and to the right.

THESE NEED BLEEDS

WHY DO WE NEED BLEEDS?

Printing presses and digital printers can’t print right to the edge of a sheet of paper. If an image on your job runs to the end of the paper, it must be printed on oversized paper and then trimmed down to the finished size. Printing on larger paper and extending the artwork past the final trim size allows for the small variations that occur in printing and cutting.

THESE DON’T NEED BLEEDS

HOW MUCH BLEED?

We use a ¹/8 inch (0.125) bleed allowance on each side of the job. Any element of the page which is intended to print to the edge must continue beyond the final trim size by ¹/8 inch (0.125). This additional information will be trimmed off after the job has been printed.

In addition to the bleed area beyond the edge of a page, you should allow a “safety zone” inside the page boundary. Any important elements, such as text or graphics not bleeding off the page, should be kept within this “safety zone”. Allow margins of ¼ inch (0.25) in from the trim edge on all four sides. This also gives your project a better appearance.

HOW DO I MAKE BLEEDS?

The software you use to create your project will determine how you make the bleeds. With Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Microsoft Publisher, set the document size to the desired size of the finished job and simply extend the elements that need to bleed over the edge of the page. When exporting/saving as a PDF, make sure to include crop marks and bleed information in the PDF dialog creation box pop-up.

When creating artwork in programs that don’t handle bleeds automatically, like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word, set the image size initially to be large enough to include the bleeds. For example, when creating a postcard that is 4x6˝, make your image size 4.25˝x6.25˝. This gives you a 0.125˝ bleed on all four sides. But remember, the extra amount will be trimmed off.

CAN COPYCATS DO IT FOR ME?

If you would like to have one of our graphic professionals set up your bleeds, please provide us with the native files for your project. There is an additional charge for this service.