Bleed vs No Bleed

What is a bleed product?

A bleed product has print (colors, fonts, shapes) that goes to the edge of the printed product.

What is bleed in printing?

Bleed is the printing that is placed beyond the trim line; that is, the printing that will be cut during finishing.

How is bleed printed?

A bleed product starts with the art; that is, the file that will be printed.

To produce a bleed product the art is set up so that the bleed goes beyond the trim line, typically by 1/8". 

The print is done on a sheet that is larger than the final product.

The bleed is more critical if the product will be double sided

Why can you not just enlarge the image?

If the product is square and the bleed is just a solid color, without shapes or fonts close to the edge, the image can be enlarged.

Scaling changes everything in the image; including objects that may already be close to the edge of the page.

Safe Area

Safe Area is a margin, typically 1/8", that indicates how far from the edge of the product we should place fonts and shapes we want to see in the final product; those we can't risk cutting.

All products, printed or otherwise, have manufacturing tolerances. In printing, press registration and cutting tolerances.

Note the safe area is also required for no bleed products.

Bottom Line

  • Start with the end in mind: If you want a bleed product, setup your file for a bleed product, considering the bleed and the safe area
  • Keep the text and shapes within the safe area, that is, at least 1/8" away from the trim line.
  • For bleed products, extend the bleed at least 1/8" beyond the trim line.

Don't Panic

If you are using and existing file that is not set up right. we have tools that can help setting up that file for a bleed product.

These tools have limitations if your file is a raster image (jpg, bmp, tiff, gif or png); however, we will do our best to make your life easier.