What are Bleeds?

Why is Understanding
Bleeds Important?
Using "bleeds" in your design enhances any marketing piece including your business cards, flyers, brochures, postcards and posters—as long as it's done properly.

If the artwork isn’t set up correctly, there are really only two possible solutions: one option is to trim the piece smaller than originally designed, and the second is to pay to have the files corrected during the pre-press process. Either way, the project ends up not proceeding as efficiently or smoothly as it could—costing you valuable time and money. The article below explains some of the basics of preparing files for "bleeds" in order to ensure the project turns out as expected.

What are Bleeds?
In the print/design industry, “bleeds” are defined as any color, image or object that extends to the edge of the paper making them appear to be “bleeding” off the page. To do this properly, the excess colors, images or objects are extended .125" (1/8") beyond the edge of the trim size (final size) of the document and is then trimmed off during the bindery process.

Most industry-standard layout software (i.e. InDesign, Illustrator) has bleed capabilities built into the program so when creating a new document, you can set the bleed at that time. Once the document is created, a red guideline will appear beyond the final trim size (the black line shown around document) indicating the bleed area.

Two exceptions – to create bleeds in Photoshop (or a similar application), your page size should be .25" (1/4") larger than the final trim size. For example, if you were creating an 8.5"W x 11"H flyer, the document size should be 8.75"W x 11.25"H. Once the document has been created, drag in guides .125" all the way around the document. In QuarkXPress, create your document as the final trim size, then draw guidelines .125" outside the page. Make sure everything intended to bleed extends past the trim area into the designated bleed area.