What is bleed in the print process?

Here we explain what is bleed? and why it is important

As a reprographics company this is one of the more common errors we handle on a daily basis. Trying to explain What is bleed? to someone you does not understand is difficult, so it is more than likely we have pointed you in this direction.

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 three sizes to most print jobs.

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 recommend 4mm on business cards and 8/10mm 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/10mm on large format unless he print specially requests none.

If you have a background image, or a graphic which extends past your artwork then you will need bleed. If it is printed without bleed then you will have either white edges on your finished printed artwork, or the job will be trimmed undersize.

What is 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.

What is bleed in Magazines and Brochures?

The vast majority of printers will only accept PDF's for brochure and magazine work to their specifications. Always check with your printer before sending PDF's

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. Crop marks and registration marks are normally not required, check with your printer.

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.