Bleed! Urgh! What’s that all about then?

A image with crop marks
A diagram showing how artwork that is to go to bleed is prepared for the printing press.

OK, so you’d like an A4 leaflet with a picture that goes right to the edge of the paper. To make that happen, the picture needs to go beyond where the paper will be trimmed (ie, a bit larger than A4). This means that when the paper is cut to size, the ink will go right to the edge. Content (image, text or simply colour) can be ‘bled’ off one or more edges.

How does this affect me?

If you were to ask us to create some artwork for you, and we are not organising the print on your behalf, we may ask you what the bleed and trim sizes are.

The trim size is the actual finished size (eg 210 x 297mm for an A4 job). The bleed size is the trim size plus the recommended bleed amount. If your printer has asked for a 5mm bleed, then the artwork will need to be 220 x 307mm to allow an extra 5mm on each edge.

What can I do in future?

If you are supplying images to us that you would like to bleed off the edge, please bear in mind that a few millimetres of that picture will be trimmed away. If you are sourcing your own print, we’ll need to know what bleed and trim size your printer requires.

If you’re asking us to provide you with artwork that you will print in your office or at home, please be aware that only specialist printers, or printers for home computers that are sold with ‘print to bleed’ capabilities are able to print to the edge of the page. If you don’t have one of these printers, it means that you will have an unprinted margin at the edge of every page, so we would need to make sure that the artwork was created with this in mind. We’re always happy to show you examples or chat it through over the phone if it’s something you’d like a better idea about.

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