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Design A to Z – Bleed

The second term that we have decided to look at is bleed.

Before you rush to the first aid cabinet and root out the plasters, bleed is not something that happens after a paper cut! Funnily enough though it happens before paper is cut down to size. Bleed is a term used when referring to print jobs, you may have heard a designer or printer requesting that a document has enough bleed.

When an image, colour or element touches the edge of a page, it must extend a little beyond this edge, usually by about 3mm. This extra sliver of colour or image is said to “bleed” off the edge of the page.

The image above shows a document with bleed. The pink line is the edge of the page and as you can see the photograph bleeds over this edge.

We need to make sure that documents have this bleed area to avoid any white margins should the document be trimmed incorrectly. It is very common for documents to be trimmed a little off due to paper thickness etc. Bleed allows for these minor trimming flaws.

This image shows a document without bleed. The photograph stops at the edge of the page.

So there you have it, bleed in the land of design and printing is a good thing… bleeding brilliant!

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