What is bleed in printing?

Graphic design studioWhether you design or organise your own print, or resell print for clients you’ll understand the importance of saving print-ready artwork that will look exactly as you and your customers envisaged. A common mistake – and one that’s easy to make, even for experienced professionals – is to save artwork without the correct bleed. If you’re a print reseller you may have customers who aren’t familiar with bleed. Our guide will help you advise them on the correct way to supply their job and answer some of their questions.

What is bleed?

Bleed is needed on any artwork where a graphic or image goes to the very edge of (or bleeds off) the trimmed, printed page. During the print, trimming and folding processes there can be tiny movements of the paper caused by the sheets moving through the press or by miniscule shrinkage of the paper at high temperatures. If your artwork only goes to the point where the page is trimmed these movements can lead to the appearance of a fine white line at the page’s edge. To avoid this you need to add bleed.

How do you add bleed?

All artwork needs trim or crop marks to show where the page will be trimmed. Any graphic intended to go the edge of the finished printed page must extend or bleed off past these trim marks. That means that if the page is slightly off when trimmed your images or graphics will still go right to the edge. If graphics are intended to bleed off the page always ensure they extend beyond the trim marks on your artwork.

How much bleed do you need for printing?

3mm bleed all around must be added to your artwork. With thicker saddle stitched documents the inner spreads move and protrude slightly when folded shut. The pages are trimmed after folding and adding 3mm bleed ensures every page will print correctly.

How do I supply full bleed for printing?

Leading design software packages like Indesign and Illustrator allow you to add a bleed area to your artwork. With Photoshop or Microsoft Word you’ll need to add 3mm to the top, bottom and sides of your page, so for an A4 artwork your page size will be 216 x 303mm.

Bleed made easy

When we launched TradeDigitalPrint.co.uk.co.uk we made sure our website was easy to use for designers and anyone who resells print. Our support pages clearly explain how to save artwork for print, covering everything from bleed to colour mode. You and your clients can also download editable artwork templates that clearly show guides, bleed, safe areas and trim. To join our trade customers, save time with your print and get exclusive trade prices, register as a trade customer or visit www.TradeDigitalPrint.co.uk today.


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