What is Document Bleed and How to Use it in Printing and Design

Document Bleed is a concept in the printing world whereby you deliberately leave an element of your artwork or design (usually a picture) spilling over the edges of the document beyond the trim edge. When a document is prepared with bleed, it’s printed on a larger sheet of printing paper and trimmed down to the exact size. It sounds silly to deliberately do something like that, but there are positive uses and a reason for doing this.

Why Use Document Bleed?

The simple answer to why you should use document bleeds is that it’s a very effective cropping tool. Even if you place something right at the edge of a flyer, the printer is not one hundred percent precise, and leaves room for error and the potential to mess up your print. It’s actually far better to go out over the edge and let the printer off the excess surface area for you, rather than relying on the printer to use an already cropped image. If the printer messes up using your already cropped artwork you’ve lost time and money, whereas with bleed there is no real disadvantage or opportunity of loss.
When setting up your printing files, be sure the bleed has been accounted for. To see the various flyer size options, click this link
http://www.clashgraphics.com/categories/flyer-printing-in-atlanta.
There are mechanical reasons for using a bleed too. Printers tend to leave a tiny bit of white even with the most carefully arranged and cropped document. When you go over the edge with a document bleed there’s no room for error. The document is printed how it should be and you have a great looking piece of art or marketing material.

Partial Bleed vs Full Bleed

There are two different kinds of bleeds. A partial bleed is when only a few parts of the artwork component or image exceeds beyond the document. A partial bleed is useful when you only have an image in the corner, like on a
business card for example. A full bleed is used when the design or background image covers the entire document and runs off of all side as. It’s used with flyers and posters. The type of bleed that you need to use depends on the purpose of your document. Just take a look at the colors, images and pictures you use and ask if you need a full or partial bleed.

How to Use it Properly

Of course using document bleed is still pointless if you don’t do it right. Go too far over the edge and you cut off important things. Don’t go far enough and you don’t get a bleed and still get that white gap at the edge. So how should you print off things with an effective bleed? It’s quite simple really.

The layout design or image manipulation programs you’re likely to use as a graphics designer, such as Photoshop, actually have built in bleed functions that can arrange this for you. If you use Photoshop then just start a new image and set the “full bleed” option to an eighth or quarter of an inch vertically and horizontally, depending on your printer specs, set your resolution to 300 pixels an inch, and your color mode to CMYK and you’re good to go.

You can use that basic principle with most layout and design programs like Illustrator and InDesign. They all have a bleed option functionality in document settings. Your basic bleed is a quarter of an inch on most print jobs, but smaller print materials may be an eighth of an inch. Check with your commercial printer. However, remember that this quarter of an inch section is not going to be printed and is used purely as the zone for cropping your artwork down to its exact size. So make sure there isn’t anything important in this area. That is the other part of using bleed properly; not putting anything you need in the bleed part of the document.

So the next time you create something that needs to print precisely, remember to use document bleed to ensure a high quality print and that your pertinent information or design isn’t cropped out.

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