11b, Reverend Ogunbiyi Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos


What is bleed?

Hello, in this post we’ll be discussing what bleed is in printing and how to add bleed to a design you’ve already created. We’ll also be showing examples on how to correct bleed that was done wrongly.

How is ‘bleed’ important to your artwork?

A commercial printing press cannot print to the edge of your paper. What is usually done is that the designs are printed on larger sheets of paper and then cut down to size. When you create a design, usually, you want the graphics to run to the edge of your paper or card. It’s not possible to cut the exact edge of your design, so there has to be a little overprint on the side of your print. This overprint is called ‘bleed’.

What are crop marks?

Crop marks are the marks that show the line that your design should be cut to. The bleed area is the area outside these crop mark lines. The crop marks do not need to be on your artwork.

How much ‘bleed’ do you need on your document?

The industry standard is to place a 3mm bleed across all sides of the document; this would add an extra 6mm (3mm on the top, and 3mm at the bottom).

What is the safe zone?

It’s a 3mm area we advise, inside the cutting edge that shouldn’t have any text, important information or graphics so that they wouldn’t be accidentally clipped out while cutting.

Here’s what your artwork should look like…

Here’s what your artwork should NOT look like:

  1. No Bleed  / White Bleed Area

  1. Text in Bleed Area / Safe Zone

  1. Text in Safe Zone

  1. Bleed area is a different color to the edge of the design

  1. Design object touches cutting line but does not extend to edge of the bleed

  1. Design object halfway between cutting line and safe zone.

  1. Design object does not touch the edge of the bleed area.

  1. Not enough bleed in the document.

If you’re unable to correct your document, here’s what to do.

  1. Print your document with borders –6mm is the general standard to ensure even borders on each edge.
  2. Have the design professionally rebuilt by a graphic designer with correct bleed and safe zone.

Have fun designing and printing!

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