If you don’t understand what bleed in printing really means, you’re not the only one! We are here to give you lots of clarity on bleed printing.
First, let's start with a straightforward look at why, what, how and when you need bleed to help you on your way to becoming a bleed master.
You’ll see easy to follow instructions with tons of screenshots to follow along.
WHAT IS BLEED IN PRINTING?
First of all, we need to understand what bleed is and why we add it.
Bleed is the section of artwork that goes beyond where the paper is cut. We recommend that you print images beyond where the cutting line is. This is so when the paper is cut – you get a nice clean cut-off point!
It’s always a good idea to have your artwork expand past the edge of your document, and leave plenty of space for cut-off, too.
This is not only good practical advice, but it’s also good design advice as well: having empty space in your design gives it some breathing room and makes it easier to absorb.
A standard US bleed is 0.125″, or one-eighth of an inch (or 3.175mm).
Bleed is the area that goes beyond the printed area that will be trimmed.
WHY DO PRINTERS REQIRE BLEED?
It’s for a good reason…and it’s not just to make your life miserable! If the printing bleed on your job is done improperly, or not at all, your project can come out looking unprofessional. You can end up with parts chopped off in the wrong places or a white border around your piece that you don’t want.
HOW DO I ADD BLEED?
There are many different ways and different programs to add bleed to your document, we’re going to cover the most popular ones below. If you’re still struggling, then get in contact and one of our designers and they will gladly help you out.
HOW TO ADD BLEED IN ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR
Choose File > Print.
Select Marks & Bleed on the left side of the Print dialog box.
Select the kinds of printer’s marks you want to add.
HOW TO ADD BLEED IN ADOBE ACROBAT (AND ACROBAT PRO)
Choose Tools > Print Production > Add Printer Marks.
Specify the pages to mark.
Specify the marks and settings.
HOW TO ADD BLEED IN ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
Unfortunately, Photoshop does not have a function to do this. You can send us your artwork if you get stuck at this point – or import it into InDesign. Alternatively, you could make your artwork’s background a quarter inch bigger to allow for bleed.
HOW TO ADD BLEED IN CANVA
Canva is the popular web-based drag-and-drop client that allows you to create very basic designs, quickly. If you need something printed from Canva, be sure to follow these instructions:
Create or open an existing design.
Click File from the menu above the editor.
Select Show print bleed. A border of broken lines will appear close to the edges of your design. This margin is fixed and cannot be adjusted.
If you see white gaps around the design edges, resize or stretch your background to cover them.
HOW TO ADD BLEED IN MICROSOFT WORD
When designing for full bleed, the design must extend beyond the size of the document required. Usually, this means extending the size, and design of the document by ⅛” on all sides. The ⅛” extension will not be in the final product. Instead, it compensates for minor inaccuracies of the printing, trimming and folding to ensure that there is no unprinted white paper on the edges of the finished pieces.
In Word, you must define a new set of paper settings to create a larger size document. Here’s how:
Go to File > Page Setup.
In the Paper Size dropdown menu, select Custom Paper Sizes.
If you want to print, for example, an 8.5″ x 11″ document with no margins, your designed file must be larger, e.g. 8.75″ x 11.25″ which has the additional ⅛” around the document.
You can then create your design, working to the edges of the page, but ensuring there is no critical information in the ⅛” around the edge as this will be trimmed away.
HOW TO ADD BLEED IN POWERPOINT
To set up the Bleed: Microsoft Powerpoint does not have the ability to create a bleed, so you will have to set up a custom page size. Click the Design tab. Click Page Setup In the Width: and Height: boxes, type in your document size in inches, including bleed. The page size including bleed is the size you want, plus .25".