Understanding Bleed

Are you designing a project that requires color printed to the edge of the document? Be sure to provide a bleed!

What is bleed?illustration for bleed
In commercial 4 color printing, all final jobs are cut in stacks. The accuracy of cutting in stacks is never perfect. Sometimes, the pressure on the stack from the cutting blade will cause a slight shift on the paper, losing the precision of the intended cut. Bleed is the extended image area of your print job, that prevents unprinted paper from showing on the edges of your finished job.  If bleed is not provided on a document, the final result of a trimmed job may possibly result in a slight white border around the edge. This is why bleed is necessary to compensate for the shifting.

We require an 1/8″ (0.125″) bleed (additional image area  printed beyond where the item will be trimmed), on all projects. Please remember that bleed rules apply to all document sizes. For example, to print a 2″ x 3.5″ business card so that the color prints to the edge, the final document size should be 2.25″ x 3.75″ (allowing a bleed area of .125″ on all sides).

Safe area is also important.
Although we have digital state-of-the-art cutters, and very savvy operators, printing is a multi-variable process, and is not exact. Just as we require bleed, we require a clearance area between the cut and the important image area. The important design elements are those which you cannot risk cutting into, such as contact information and text. We also recommend a 1/8″ (0.125 inch) safe area inside from trim line as a minimum clearance.

We provide free templates to help you set up your document with the proper bleed and safe areas. From the “Product Options, File Setup” tab, select and download a template for your project:

template menu

 

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