Printing bleed is essential for projects that demand precision and professional quality. It refers to the deliberate extension of images or graphics beyond the intended final trim edge of a printed page. This overhang ensures that there are no unwanted white borders or unprinted edges on the finished product, providing a clean and polished appearance.
The primary purpose of incorporating printing bleed into a design is to maintain a consistent and visually appealing appearance throughout the printing process. Without bleed, slight variations in the cutting or trimming process could result in thin, uneven borders or unsightly white edges, detracting from the overall quality of the printed piece.
To illustrate this, consider a business card with a vibrant red background that extends to the edge of the card. Without bleed, even the slightest misalignment during cutting could leave a thin strip of white border around the card’s perimeter, disrupting the intended design. Bleed ensures that the red background extends slightly beyond the trim edge, eliminating the risk of unsightly white borders.
To incorporate printing bleed into a design, graphic designers and artworkers typically extend the background or elements of an image beyond the final trim size by a 3mm.
For instance, if you are designing a 210mm x 297mm flyer with bleed, the document size would be slightly larger, such as 216mm x 303mm. This additional margin ensures that when the document is printed and trimmed to its final size, the colour or image extends smoothly to the edge without any gaps or white borders.
During the printing process, the printer utilises crop marks or trim marks as guides for precise trimming. These marks indicate where to trim the printed sheet to achieve the intended final size. The inclusion of bleed ensures that the image extends beyond these marks, guaranteeing that there are no unwanted edges or borders on the finished product.