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There Will Be Bleed


What is it?

What’s it for?

Well, for starters, in the context of imaging it has nothing to do with injuries or wounds. At least we hope not.

Bleed, simply put, is any printing (ink) that goes past where the media is to be cut.

So, if your image is 8½” x 11” you want to print it on a paper or substrate that is bigger than that.

Then you actually expand the image beyond 8½” x 11” and run it.

After that you trim it down to the 8½” x 11” that you originally wanted.

The purpose is to make your print look like it was run all the way to the edge of the media.

The implication here, of course, is that printers cannot actually lay ink all the way out to the edge of whatever they are printing on.

Maybe you’ve never really thought about it before, but, yes, that is the case.

As amazing as modern printing equipment is, the nozzles that spray the ink just don’t have enough precise control to spray all the way out to the edge.

There would be no way to adequately avoid over-spray, which would drastically diminish the quality of the printing, cause a huge mess, and could seriously diminish the life of a printer.

If you take a look at the image we so helpfully provided you can see what we feel is a pretty clear and simple illustration of bleed.

In this case, the image of the bridge would be printed all the way out to the edge of the Bleed Area (in green).

After printing, the Bleed Area would be trimmed off.

The Safe Area or the space inside the Margin is where you want your subject content contained.

Put another way…

Generally, having your background extend past the Margin (and all the way out to the edge of the Bleed Area) is fine.

However, any written content, for instance, ought to be in the Safe Area.

A friendly tip, by the way is that the Bleed Area is traditionally ⅛”.

So a 3½” by 2” business card would be 3¾” by 2¼” with the bleed.

Hopefully this is a handy explanation of a subject we run into issues with from time to time in working with our customers.

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