Understanding Bleed

Author: Ellie Williamson
Published: 05/07/2013

There are many things to consider when preparing artwork for print to ensure the finished product is as you would expect. This article will help you understand the importance of bleed and why it is needed.

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What is bleed?

Bleed is the area of your artwork that will be cut off during the trimming process.

What is the required bleed area?

The bleed area required is 3mm on all edges of your artwork and any images/colours should extend into this area if appropriate to your design.

Exceptions to the 3mm bleed area

Banner artwork requires a 5mm bleed area.

What happens if I don't include a bleed area?

Any artwork with elements running to the edge, that do not include bleed, are at risk of unprinted edges being present on the finished items due to the possibility of slight movements occurring during the printing or trimming process. Even artwork with a white background requires bleed - it will get you into good practice.

Example of bleed when applied to business cards

The following example demonstrates how the dimensions of business card artwork change when the bleed area is applied.

 WidthHeight
Without Bleed 85mm 55mm
With Bleed 91mm 61mm

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Ellie Williamson Pre Press Expert
I form part of the Pre-Press team, working meticulously to ensure your artwork is print ready and will achieve the best outcome possible. I am a huge book worm, enjoy creating my own greetings cards, experimenting with nail varnish designs and am crazy obsessed with handbags!

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Business Card Template Showing Bleed, Trim and the Safe Area

Business Card Template Showing Bleed, Trim and the Safe Area

This template Illustrates bleed, trim and the 'safe' area when applied to a business card. You can download the template and use it as the basis for your artwork.

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