What is bleed in the print process?

Bleed is a print term that refers to that part of the printing process that goes beyond the edge of the image area before trimming. In other words, it is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed is the part on each side of a document that gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies. Images, artwork and background colors can extend into this area. After trimming, it ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document.

There are 3 sizes to any job.

The image size – this is the finished size of your job.

Print area – this is the area in which it is safe to go up to from the edge – generally a minimum 3mm smaller than image size on all sides. We recomend 4mm on business cards and 10mm on flyers.

Bleed size – this is the area in which the background ‘bleeds’ past the image size – generally 2/3mm larger than image size. 5mm on large format.


Bleed in large format printing

There are many web sites claiming that large format printing does not require bleed. As with all printing it is highly recommended that bleed and crop marks are applied to all single page documents. The exception is brochures and magazines where different rules apply. See below.

On posters up to A0 we recommend your PDF or artwork is supplied with  2/3mm bleed with crop marks.

On roller banners, banners and pop ups we recommend 5mm bleed with crop marks.

Bleed in Magazines and Brochures

Printing from an application. 3mm bleed needs to be applied to outer sides of the spread ON ALL PAGES.

Printing from PDF. 3mm bleed. Supply as single pages without crop marks.

Creep in Magazines and Brochures

When you fold multiple pages the outer sheets fall short of the centre pages. This is referred to as creep. We recommend that you do not bother with creep on anything less 48pp. 3mm  bleed with naturally cover this. Anything over this when suppling PDFs you may wish to compensate. Both InDesign and Quark allow for this