What is Bleed?

Bleed_Examples2 R1

Ink that goes all the way to the edge of the paper is called “bleed”. This means that the printer is going to request bleed to be included on all four sides of your document.

The most common way printers achieve this result is to print on a larger sheet of paper than needed and trim it down to size. If your artwork is the exact size of the finished piece, it’s possible that a slight shift while trimming will result in a white edge on the final piece. Bleed is artwork that extends past the trim line of the document.

Generally, an additional 0.125” (1/8 inch) of artwork on each side of the piece is plenty to account for any slight shift in trimming.

For example, if you’re printing an 8.5” x 11” sheet that has artwork that runs off the edges of the page, your final artwork should be 8.75” x 11.25” to account for the additional 0.125” bleed on each edge.

Depending on the program you use to create your artwork, there are different ways to setup your document for bleed.

How to add bleed to a document

 Adobe InDesign

FOR A NEW DOCUMENT

  1. Click File > New > Document
  2. Enter the TRIM SIZE of your document
  3. Enter 0.125” in all four of the spaces under Bleed

FOR AN EXISTING DOCUMENT

  1. Click File > Document Setup
  2. In the pop-up window, near the bottom, there should be a section called “Bleed & Slug”
  3. Enter 0.125 in in all four of the spaces under Bleed

WHEN YOU EXPORT TO PDF

  1. Click File > Export
  2. Set Format to PDF and click Save
  3. In the pop-up window, there is a menu on the left. Go to Marks and Bleed.
  4. Check the box that says “Crop Marks”, set your Offset to 0.125” and check the box that says “Use Document Bleed Settings”.

 Adobe Photoshop

FOR A NEW DOCUMENT

  1. Click File > New
  2. Enter the FULL BLEED dimensions (= height + 0.25” and width + 0.25”). This will allow an additional 0.125” around each edge of the document.
  3. Set Resolution to 300 dpi
  4. Set Color Mode to CMYK
  5. If it helps you, once your document is created, you can create guides 0.125” from each edge to visualize your trim lines.

FOR AN EXISTING DOCUMENT

  1. Create a new document with the FULL BLEED dimensions.
  2. Create guides 0.125” from each edge of the new document.
  3. Put the new document side-by-side with your original document.
  4. Select all layers in your layers pallet, and drag them into your new document.
  5. Use the guides to center your artwork in the document.
  6. Pull any artwork that should run off the edge of the page out to fill the bleed area.

Adobe Illustrator

FOR A NEW DOCUMENT

  1. Click File > New
  2. Enter the TRIM SIZE of your document
  3. Enter 0.125” in all four of the spaces under Bleed

FOR AN EXISTING DOCUMENT

  1. Click File > Document Setup
  2. Enter 0.125” in each space under Bleed

WHEN YOU SAVE AS A PDF

  1. Click File > Save As
  2. Set Format to PDF and click Save.
  3. In the pop-up window, there is a menu on the left. Go to Marks and Bleed.
  4. Check the box that says “Trim Marks” and set the Offset to 0.125”
  5. Check the box that says “Use Document Bleed Settings”.

 

 

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About Mallory MacDermott

Marketing Manager at Printing Partners, Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana.
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