What is Page Bleed and what are Bleed Marks?
What is Page Bleed?
   A page is said to bleed when the background or page content extends to the edge of the page with no margin. In these cases the content needs to be adjusted to extend beyond the edge of the page. Your page content needs to run beyond, "bleed", past the edge of the desired page size. The jobs in the two images below show when bleed is and is not needed. If your job has an empty margin on all edges, then bleed is not needed.
Why do we need Bleed?
  Page bleed ensures that there are no slivers of paper colour, often white, visible on the edge of finished print work. Printing presses, whether conventional or digital, can’t print right to the edge of a sheet of paper. So, if we need to print up to the edge of a sheet, we must over print on oversized paper and then trim down to the desired size. Neither printing or cutting is a totally exact process, so the page bleed is used to compensate for the small processing errors which may occur.
Examples of print jobs needing page bleed.
Examples of print jobs not needing page bleed.
How much bleed
How Much Bleed?
  Printing processes vary in their accuracy, so it is a good idea
to make a greater allowance than is normally necessary.
Typically we use 1/8 inch (3 mm) bleed on each side of a job.
This means that any element on a page which is intended
to print to the edge – graphics, picture, background colour,
or whatever – must continue 1/8 inch (3 mm) over the
edge of the page. This additional information will be
trimmed off when the job is finished. In addition to the
bleed outside the edge of a page, it is usual to allow a
“safety zone” inside the edge of a page. Any
important elements, such as text or graphics, which
are intended to be contained on the page and not
bleed off should be kept inside this zone. The size
of this zone will vary according to the printing
process, but should be a minimum of 1/8 inch
(3 mm). If you can allow a larger safety zone, say
1/4 inch (5 mm), it often gives a better visual
appearance. It is also necessary to be aware
that some machines have larger unprintable
areas at the edge of the sheet.
This is particularly important
when designing jobs that do
not have bleed and will be
printed on "pre-cut" (“cut-size”)
sheets, i.e. normal 8.5x11 inch
(A4) paper. Here it is usually
necessary to extend the safety
zone, or margin, to 1/4 inch
(5 mm) or more. We can
provide more precise
information depending on the
job to be printed.
What are Bleed Marks?
  Bleed marks are solid or dashed lines along and around the edges and corners of the page to be printed, see image below. Bleed marks help both the designer and printer produce the desired finished product.
  Designers can turn on bleed marks in most design software or add bleed marks manually. Bleed marks help designers extend content bleed out far enough and bleed marks also help designers keep important content out of harms way within the safe zone bleed marks. The print shop will use bleed marks as guides for trimming the page accurately and correctly.
  In the image below, The outer box bleed marks indicate the minimum extent bleed content needs to reach. The middle box indicate the border of the desired finished page size and are usually not designated by any solid or dashed lines The bleed marks extending out from the corners are inline with the desired page size border and are used as a cutting guide by the print shop. The inner box bleed marks are used to the indicate the safe zone where content will not be clipped by printing and cutting errors. The inner box bleed marks can also indicate the maximum printable area, because some printers are not capable of printing close to the edge of a page.
  Bleed marks are not required for print bleed work. A print job with no bleed marks can be completed accurately and without error, but the more bleed marks included the less chance of error in design and print finishing.
Diagram of Bleed Marks
How do I Provide Bleed?
  This depends on the software being used to create the artwork. We’ll be happy to provide specific advice for your job.
  Generally speaking, when using page layout software (Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, Microsoft Publisher, etc.) set the document size to be the size of your finished job and simply extend the elements that bleed over the edge of the page. Then export/save as PDF, making sure that the PDF page size is bigger than the job’s finished page size.
  If creating artwork in an image editing program, e.g. Adobe Photoshop, set the image size initially to be big enough to include the bleed. For example, if creating a standard postcard which has a finished size of 4x6 inches (148x105 mm), make your image 4.25x6.25 inches (154x111 mm) to allow 1/8 inch (3 mm) all round. It is then a very good idea to set ruler guides to mark the bleed area and safety zone to remind you not to put important information in positions where it is liable to be trimmed off.
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