Printing Bleed

Printing Bleed – Everything you need to know.

Printing bleed is basically, an additional, oversize area of print that will be trimmed off once the job is guillotined down to the final size by the printing company.

Most printed jobs are printed on oversize paper and then trimmed down to the final size. The additional area is not wasted as this is where the Printer will add colour scales, trimming marks and registration marks. In addition, this allows an additional margin for the sheet to be gripped as it is pulled through the printing press along with an area which can be used for the bleed.

Bleed is usually an additional 3mm of print area around each side to be printed. Consequently, if the finished size of your printing product is A4 (210mm x 297mm), the designed size (including bleed) that you would give to the printer would be 216mm x 303mm.

Most novice designers create their artwork to the exact finished size but if any of the print goes right to the very edge of the sheet as if appearing to ‘spill’ off the page, then the printer will require this extra bleed.

Once the sheet has been printed, the bleed is trimmed off as the sheet is trimmed down to the final size. Bleed is not required if there is no printing close to the edge of the sheet.

Adding bleed is easy if you simply require solid colour ‘spilling off the edge’ and usually your printer will be able to do this for you. But if the design requires images such as photographs or illustrations to be trimmed through, then great care must be taken at the design stage to ensure the proportion of the image you want to appear is contained within the finished size and the bleed area is the part of the image you don’t need.

Sometimes, bleed can be added by simply enlarging the whole area by 2% but again care must be taken that any text or other detail doesn’t go too close to the edges and risk being trimmed through.

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