Does your artwork contain images, text, or graphics that extend to the very edge of the finished piece? This is called “bleeding off the edge” or simply “bleed.” Files with bleed need to be built to the final trim size with 1/8″ extra on each side for the bleed.
Example: if you are ordering an 8.5″ x 11″ sell sheet, the graphic file’s size should 8.75″ x 11.25″.
The illustration on the right shows two invitations. The left invitation features a design with bleed (finished size plus an extra .125″ on each side). The invitation on the right does not.
How do I create bleed in my design?
To create bleed in your design, simply make sure the background color, graphic, or image you want to bleed extends off the final trim edge of the page by .125″ (3mm).
If you are creating your file in an application such as InDesign, bleed preferences are available in your document setup. If they are not present, you must make your document height and width dimensions .25″ (6mm) larger than your final trim size. For example, if the finished size is 8.5″ x 11″, then make your document 8.75″ x11.25″. Position guides that are .125″ from each edge. Add any background color, graphic, or images that you want to bleed so that they extended past your guides – all the way to the outside edge of the document. Remember, the extra .125″ will be cut off after your piece is printed.
Does your piece contain a graphic or artistic border close to the paper edge? When trimming paper, there is a cutting tolerance of 1/16″ which may result in uneven borders. For this reason, we do not recommend borders. However, if they are necessary for your piece, the border should be at least 3/8″ from the trim line + additional bleed. If working with standard bleed, this equals approximately 1/4 inch total.
When creating a booklet or similar piece that requires spiral or wire-o binding, it is important to be mindful of the safety zone. Printed sheets are punched to accommodate the binding and may interfere with images or text. Establish a “safety zone” of at least 3/8″ from the edge of the final binding edge. To avoid any images or text being cut off when the piece is bound, do not place them in the safety zone.
Do you have lines on your piece? All lines should be at least .25 pts thick to make them printable. Thinner lines may display on your screen but be too thin to print.