What Is A Bleed

This is the first in a series of learning articles to help you with the technical side of printing. Today's topic is bleeds.

What is a bleed?

A bleed for printing is simply the area that extends outside of your trim marks that allows you to print color to the edges of your printed piece. For our printers it is usually 0.125" beyond all edges.


How Do I Setup A Bleed?

First, you need to open your page layout or image editing software and set the document size. Your document size is not the same as your page size. For example, if your final page size is 5"x7" and your bleed is 0.125" on each edge, your document size will be 5.25" x 7.25"


If using InDesign:



After launching InDesign, click Create New.



Select the print tab at the top. In Preset Details, choose your measurement units.



Scroll, then click Bleed and Slug to expand the panel. Type a bleed value. Set the same bleed on all sides.



Place your artwork, stretching it to the edge past your trim marks







With Illustrator:


Launch Illustrator and choose File, then New. 


Set your document size and resolution.


Remember to add the size of the bleed to your document size to include the bleed. Click OK to create the file.


To edit an existing file, go to File and Document Setup, then add your bleeds. Click OK.




Important thing to remember

Make sure your colors are set to CMYK unless you are using a specific Pantone color, then you will convert the Pantone values to CMYK when you generate your pdf.



Illustrator >

Create a pdf with bleeds:

When it’s time to hand off your document for printing, save it as a PDF file to capture bleed.

Choose File > Export (InDesign) or File > Save As (Illustrator) and select the Adobe PDF (Print) format. We recommend the Adobe preset format Press Quality.

In the General tab, select View PDF after Exporting. In Marks and Bleeds, select Crop Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export.