One of the most misunderstood terms required by us is bleed! We get that strange look when we ask if the supplied artwork has bleed.
So here we go.
What is bleed?
In printing, a page is said to “bleed” when part of the design needs to be printed right up to the edge of the sheet. In these cases the artwork needs to be adjusted to extend over the edge of the finished page. If your job has a white margin on all edges, then bleed is not required.
Why do we need bleed?
Printing presses and digital copiers can’t print right to the edge of a sheet of paper. So, if your job needs to print up to the edge of a sheet, it must be printed on oversized paper and then trimmed to size. Printing on larger paper and extending the artwork past the final trim size makes allowance for the small variations that occur in printing and cutting.
How much bleed?
Typically use a 3mm bleed allowance on each side of the job. This means that any element of the page which is intended to print to the edge must continue beyond the final trim size by 3mm. This additional print will be trimmed off after the job has been printed and get rid of the ghastly white slivers you get without the bleed.
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 3mm from the trim edge on all four sides. To enhance the artwork a 5mm “safety zone” really helps your print job to pop.
How do I make bleed?
The software you use to create your project will determine how you can allow for bleeds. When using software like Adobe Indesign, CorelDraw, and Microsoft Publisher, just 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 when the PDF dialog creation box pops up. When creating artwork in programs that don’t handle bleeds automatically, like Photoshop or Microsoft Word, set the image size initially to be large enough to include the bleeds. For example, when creating a business card that is 90 x 50mm , make your image size 96 x 56mm. This gives you an 3mm bleed on all four sides. But remember, that the extra amount will be trimmed off.