How and why to add bleed

When you create a document where the image goes right to the edge of a sheet of paper you need to add bleed. This is because we print on an over-sized sheet and trim it out or sometimes multiple products are printed on much larger sheets and then cut down to size. It is not possible to cut exactly to the edge of your design so you need to add extra over print on each side and this overprint is called “bleed”. It is standard practice to add 3mm bleed.

You should also leave a safe zone of 3mm inside the document to make sure that your text is not too close to the trimmed edge. This is not the same as adding bleed. Remember that the 3mm bleed is OUTSIDE the page and is designed to be trimmed off so make sure your background is extended to fill the bleed area, not just enlarged or you may still end up with some of your image missing. Don’t forget to allow an extra margin on the left hand side of each page if your document is being bound.

Step One (for InDesign or Illustrator)
Make sure when you create your document / artboard that you select the bleed option and include 3mm all around. 

Step Two
Create your design including the bleed area extending any backgrounds or images (use the preview mode to see how your document looks when the bleed is trimmed)

Step Three
Save your design before exporting as a PDF. (Note at this point that your document should contain all links before you export to PDF. If you export when links are missing your images will not be at the optimum resolution when printed).

Step Four
Choose the “press quality” option in the save window and make sure that crop marks and bleeds are checked, along with the box that says “use document bleed settings - see image below

N.B. If you design in Photoshop you will need to increase the canvas size by 3mm all round to allow for bleed, there is no option to include it so this makes an allowance.

Save your Photoshop file as a PDF and don’t worry there won’t be crop marks but we can allow for this when we process the file for print. 


And finally...

Please only supply PDFs for print, we cannot accept jpegs, powerpoint or word documents.

Please supply zines and books as single pages not spreads unless we tell you otherwise as we will create our own imposition of your file for print.

And if you get stuck, don't worry, just give us a call on 0116 255 4336.