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.