Creating a Bleed for Your Publication


Bleed: A graphic element that extends off of the edge of a printed page.


While offset and color digital output devices have improved dramatically over the years, they still cannot print to the edge of a sheet of paper. Offset presses require 1/2” inch at the top for the gripper and the other edges can be degraded by ink bleed-back.  Color digital production printers cannot print within approximately 1/8” inch of the edges of the sheet.


While these devices have very accurate print registration, mis-registration of only 1/64th of one inch will produce a very noticeable white edge on one or two edges. To prevent this, the designer must size and position the element that bleeds so that is hanging 0.125 inches (1/8th inch) off of the edge of the page.  Please use this bleed amount as it is the industry standard; file processing software and production systems are designed to use this amount.


To overcome this limitation, bleed pages are printed on oversized paper and trimmed. Letter (8.5” x 11”) pages are printed on 9” x 12” paper and Tabloid (11” x 17”) pages are printed on 12” x 18” paper. Other pages sizes are printed multiple-up in patterns that minimize paper waste. After printing, the pages are trimmed to their final size.


Bleeds can only be created in applications that allow you to position elements partially off the edge of the page. Some applications, such as Microsoft Word will warn you about going outside the margins, but will allow you to “ignore” the problem. If your application does not allow you to place bleed elements, we can enlarge your publication at the time of printing to bleed over the edge. Enlargement is done from the center of the page proportionately in all directions. You may wish to adjust the size of non-bleed objects downwards slightly to compensate.


Set the page size to the size of the publication’s page, not to the size of the paper on which we will print.


Position the object that you want to bleed Callout 1so that it extends beyond the edges of the publication page Callout 2.



sheet size larger than publication            Publication with bleeds  


You can create a bleed with text, pictures, or any other type of object.



After printing, the paper will be trimmed to the size of the publication by using the crop marks (Crop Marks: Marks that show where a publication page will be trimmed. Crop marks show only when the page has been printed to a paper size that is larger than the page.) as your guides.

trim paper to page size


If you wish to preview print your publication, you will need to set it up to print on a sheet of paper that's larger than the finished publication page. For example, if your publication page is a standard letter size, you would print it on tabloid paper.