Color Printing

How to add bleeds to your artwork03 Mar

What’s a bleed? In simple terms a bleed is where the ink or printed image runs off the edge of the paper. In contrast, artwork with no bleeds will have a natural paper colored boarder around the printed image. When submitting artwork to your printer, to get the best results, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of bleeds.

Here’s a couple of examples of NON-bleed artwork. In this image of a postcard, the edge of the paper is represented by the black boarder and you can clearly see a paper colored (white) edge around the perimeter.  If you want to print non-bleed artwork, this is how to create it.

Example of Non Bleed artwork

Example of Non Bleed artwork

Here’s an example of a business card with no bleeds. Again for purposes of this illustration, a thin black boarder is added to show where the edge of the paper would be.  But otherwise, you can see that the white background on this card goes all the way to the edge of the paper.

Business card with NO bleeds

Business card with NO bleeds

So how do you build artwork with bleeds? Well a lot of that depends on the software you’re using to create your artwork. We can’t possibly cover all here. But the basic idea is the same; you need to create artwork where your image is LARGER than the finished or trimmed size. So if you’re making a card that is to be trimmed to the size of 4″ by 4″, your artwork should be created to extent beyond 4″ – to at least 4.125″ or ever better if it was 4.25″.  You should also create your artwork with “crop marks” or trim lines. This tells the printer where the paper needs to be cut.

Here’s an example. This artwork is setup correctly for bleeds and crop marks are included. This file can be sent to press as is.
Artwork with bleeds and crop marks

Artwork with bleeds and crop marks

Close up on artwork with bleeds with and crop marks

Close up on artwork with bleeds with and crop marks

After this artwork is printed, the paper is cut along the crop marks to create the boarderless effect. Here is what the finished artwork will look like.

Example of artwork with bleeds, after it is trimmed to size.

Example of artwork with bleeds, after it is trimmed to size.

While artwork with bleeds certainly look great, you should be aware that using bleeds will most likely make your project more a little more  expensive. For example, if you want an 8.5″ x 11″ flyer with bleeds, be aware that it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper then cut to down to size. To contrast, the same flyer printed without bleeds is simply printed on 8.5″x  11″ sheets and that it.

Accucopy will be happy to assist you in setting up your artwork properly to print with a bleed, or without a bleed. Please contact us for more information.

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Accucopy Inc. is Hawaii’s leader in litigation document management. Accucopy provides digital copying, printing, scanning, archiving, e-discovery for Hawaii’s largest law firms and businesses. Additionally, Accucopy has expanded into digital color printing services, layout and design, and mail services for small businesses in Hawaii.

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