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Print Hint 2: Take heed of bleed


Welcome to the second in the series of PrintHint!

Each month at Print on Paper we’ll be covering a different topic relating directly to print. This will help you to know exactly what you need, and how to make the most of your print. This time around, we’re looking at bleed.




What is Bleed?

Bleed is the name given to the area surrounding a printed page. It’s the area that allows you to print without having to go all the way to the edge of the paper. In our case, it’s useful when printing our Paper Zines or our A4 magazines as it allows you to make the most of your images. If you check out the diagram below, the bleed is the area in red surrounding the picture.


Print on Paper | Bleed


Why do I need it?

Every printer has tolerances when printing, meaning that it’s impossible to get things to line up perfectly every time we print. Adding bleeds gives us some “extra” print that will continue the appearance of a full bleed image once the paper is cropped.


What happens if I don’t add bleed?

You may notice that publications which haven’t used bleed can end up with a thin white line along one or two of the edges. This is because the cutting may have been about a millimetre off, and there was no extra image left to compensate for this. In the picture below, no bleed was added, and therefore you can see a white line around the perimeter.


No Bleed Example


Why do you ask for 3mm, isn’t that a lot?

This is something left over from the earlier days of print. Our machines tend to work to much higher tolerances than this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Industry-standard allowances tend to be between 3-5mm depending on the application, but bleed isn’t always the same from job to job. In some instances, extra bleed can be used for writing notes on proofing documents. For some applications, additional bleed may be required on one or more edges. For example, if the print is being attached to something physical, this would require additional bleed.


Why don’t you need bleed for Broadsheets or Tabloids?

When we print our Tabloids and Broadsheets we utilise the entire paper width. Our printers have the capability of fitting paper larger than the printable area. This allows space for printer marks such as crop marks, bleed marks, registration marks and bug marks. Confused about all these marks? Fear not. Stay tuned for next months Print hint to find out more about Printer marks!

If you wanted to experiment with using full-bleed artwork, why not upload a Zine or a Tabloid design of your own? Then you can see it in action!


Feeling knowledgeable?

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