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What are Bleeds, and Why Do I Need Them?

Bleed is the industry term for any color or image that goes right to the edge of the paper. What actually happens is that the picture or other graphic extends 1/8" (.125") beyond the edge of the page and that excess image or color is then cut off as a part of the bindery or finishing process. For specific information about how to create bleeds in your graphics program please see the Application Tips section below.

Text or images that are not meant to be trimmed off the edge of your final printed piece must be 1/8"-1/4" (.125"-.25") from the edge of your layout (also known as Safety). Items placed 1/8" (.125") or closer are in danger of being trimmed off or showing inconsistent margins.

In the example below, the bleed area (shown here in blue) extends .125" beyond the trim edge of the page (represented here by the red line). The document size is equal to the final trim size in most cases.

Example showing Bleed, Trim, & minimum Safety areas.

.125" Bleed

The way to create bleed is to simply make certain that the image or graphic extends off the edge of the page to a distance of 1/8" (.125) wherever you want something to bleed.

This is how it is done in all major page layout programs such as QuarkXPress or InDesign. This is also how it is done in vector illustration programs like Adobe Illustrator, FreeHand, or CorelDraw. Remember, if you want something to bleed it must extend 1/8" (.125") beyond the final trim edge of the page.

However, If you are creating your file in Photoshop (or similar application) then you must make your document .25" larger overall than your final trim size in both height and width. In other words, you must build the .125" bleed directly into your document.

For example: if the final size is 8.5" x 11" then make your document 8.75" x11.25". Draw guides on the layout that are .125" from the edge all the way around. Now create your design with the idea that the layout will be cut off where those guides are because that is precisely what is going to happen.

Make sure that any photographs or backgrounds that you want to bleed go all the way to the outer edge of the document (.125" past the guidelines). After your piece is printed we will trim off that extra .125" all the way around. You have color all the way to the edges of your piece. It looks more professional.

Special Note: For specific information about how to create bleeds please visit the appropriate link below that matches your graphics program.

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Application Tips

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