January 10, 2015 in 

To bleed means to extend outside the normal trim area of a book’s page. A bleed is a bar, illustration, rule or other element that extends outside the trim area. Such elements have ink that is visible on the edge of the page in the bound book.

A bleed is a printing term that refers to printing that goes all the way to the edge of the paper after trimming. Bleeds are necessary when a design or image extends all the way to the edge of the paper—without a bleed, your printer would have to print your document on a larger sheet of paper and then trim it down to size, which would result in an unwanted white border around the edge of your design.

To avoid this, you need to create a bleed by extending your design or image past the edge of your document. For example, if you’re creating a flyer that is 8.5” x 11”, you would need to create your design at 8.75” x 11.25”. This extra quarter-inch on each side is the bleed. Once your document is printed, it will be trimmed down to 8.5” x 11”, resulting in a design that goes all the way to the edge of the paper.

In addition to extending your design past the edge of the document, you will also need to add bleed margins to any text elements that are close to the edge of the page. This is because, during the printing and trimming process, slight variations can occur that could result in your text being trimmed off. By adding bleed margins to your text, you can be sure that your text will remain within the safe zone and won’t be trimmed off.

As a general rule of thumb, you should add a 0.125” bleed margin to any text elements that are within 0.5” of the edge of the page. So, if you have a text element that is 0.25” from the edge of the page, you would need to extend it to 0.375” (0.25” + 0.125”).

While bleed margins are not absolutely necessary for every document, they are a good idea if you want to be on the safe side. And, if you’re submitting your document to a printer or publication that has specific requirements, they will likely require that you include bleed margins.

In short, a bleed is an extension of your design or image past the edge of your document, and bleed margins are additional margins that you add to text elements that are close to the edge of the page. Including bleeds and bleed margins in your document helps to ensure that your design


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About the author 

CJ McDaniel

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!

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