A “bleed” printing refers to the area of a printed document that extends beyond the final trim size. Printers use bleeds to ensure that the printed image or color extends to the edge of the paper after trimming. Bleeds are important in printing because the cutting process can result in slight variations in the final size of the printed piece, and if there were no bleeds, you could end up with white borders or unprinted areas at the edges.
Here’s how it works:
Design: When you create a document for printing, you extend any images or background colors that are intended to reach the edge of the page beyond the trim edge. This extended area is called the “bleed area.” The bleed area is typically around 1/8 of an inch. This is what we use at Julin Printing, but may vary depending on the printer’s specifications.
Printing: The document is printed on a larger sheet of paper or substrate than the final trim size. The printer prints not only the content within the trim size but also the content in the bleed area.
Trimming: After printing, the paper is cut down to its final size, following the trim marks or cut lines indicated on the document. Because the printed content extends into the bleed area, it ensures that there are no white borders or unprinted edges on the final piece.
The first image shows trim and bleed lines.
The second image shows the image after it has been trimmed. Notice the arrow on the left has been cut off as it didn’t fall within the trim line! The image had the appropriate bleeds but elements of the design were not kept inside the trim lines.
Bleeds are crucial for full-bleed designs, such as brochures, business cards, posters, and other materials where the background color or images should extend all the way to the paper’s edge. When setting up your design software (e.g., Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Canva), there are usually options to specify and include bleeds in your document setup.
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