Print Bleeds Explained


Print bleeds are a critical element in prepress print design. Still, many people need to become more familiar with what they are and why they are necessary. This blog post will explain print bleeds and their importance in print design. If you would rather skip the details and hire a professional graphic designer, contact us for an estimate.

1: What is a Print Bleed?

What we mean by “bleed.” 

A bleed refers to extending printed elements (such as images or backgrounds) beyond the edge of the final trimmed page. Bleeds are necessary because our print products are trimmed down to their final size after printing; Extending the printed image or design element beyond the edge of the page ensures even borders and no white gaps when the final product is cut down to size.

For example, if you have a business card with a full-color background that extends to the edge of the card, you will need to set up a bleed in your design to ensure that the color extends beyond the edge of the card. 

This way, if the card is trimmed slightly off-center, the color will still go all the way to the edge, and there won’t be a white gap.

2: Why Bleeds are Necessary for Professional Print Results

Bleeds are necessary to create professional-looking printed products with crisp edges. Without bleeds, there is a risk that the final product will have uneven borders after it is trimmed down. Suppose a design element or image is not extended to the bleed mark. In that case, there is also a risk of white gaps occurring during the trimming process. Bleeds are an essential part of the printing process and should always be considered when designing for print.

 3: How to Create Bleed in Your Document

To prepare a document with print bleeds for a printing press, there are a few steps you will need to follow.

It’s best to create your file in design software such as Photoshop CC. When creating a new file, you will want to add in the standard bleed size of .125 inches or the actual size for the full bleed of .25 inches. Do this by setting the top, bottom, left, and right fields to include a 0.125 (⅛ inch) bleed under the Bleed and Slug options. This will create bleed guides on your document, and a red line should appear on the canvas ⅛ of an inch off the side of your document.

This will ensure that your file is precise for your printing bleed.

Finally, you must ensure that the elements you want to bleed extend off the edge of the page by at least 0.125 inches. This can be done by enlarging the elements that you want to bleed.

4: How to Select the Appropriate Bleed for Your Project

Ultimately, the best bleed size for your project will depend on the final product size of your piece.

 It would be best if you always used a .25-inch bleed in your design. Otherwise, you risk having an unintended border on your final piece. 

Most print products, such as postcards or business cards, use a .125-inch bleed. For large-format designs such as signs, you could incorporate a larger bleed; or If you’re creating a piece with an intricate design, you could use a larger bleed, such as .5 inches.

What should you let your print shop know when submitting your artwork?

When submitting artwork for printing, provide the trim size, bleed size, and other relevant details such as file formats and color mode. 

Additionally, you should provide the printer with a high-resolution PDF that adheres to their specific printing requirements. This will ensure that your final product looks the way you intend and avoid any costly delays. Finally, be sure to ask for a proof and review it carefully. In most cases, you are responsible for the outcome of the job you designed.

Print bleeds are crucial for print design. To ensure your print materials look professional and polished, include bleeds in your design, and you can be confident that your final product will look its best.