Have you ever created a fantastic design to print, only to find that it prints with a thin white line around the edge? Unfortunately, you will have forgotten to set up a printing bleed! A bleed is a vital step of printing since it helps create a professional, polished result that covers the whole paper, banishing those annoying white lines. But what is a print bleed? And how do you set one up? We have all the answers you seek! Whether you want to start selling your own artwork or want professional-looking business cards, here’s everything you need to know about printing bleed for a perfect result every time.  

What Is A Print Bleed?

a freshly printed piece of art with a printing bleed

So, just what is a print bleed? Well, the printing bleed is the name of the extra space around the edge of your document that the printer should cut off during production. The print bleed is essential in printing most types of paper printed products, such as bannersbusiness cards, posters and forms of large format printing.

Usually, documents that are ready to print have crop marks to indicate where the cutting machine should cut. However, the device can’t always cut precisely, despite new cutting technology promoting high accuracy. This leads to the machine cutting beyond the intended crop line. So, if your printing document doesn’t have a bleed, the printed result will have thin white lines around the very edge.

To prevent outer space around the edge of a document, you will need to give the printer extra information outside of your design, which it will cut off. Essentially, you need to set up a printing bleed!

Why Is Printing Bleed Important?

a professional printing press printing a piece with a printing bleed

Although we’ve answered, ‘what is a print bleed’, you may still be wondering why it’s such an important concept. It’s because no printer can print all the way to the outer edge of the paper or other printing materials. Instead, printers grab each sheet by the edges, meaning the printing ink will not be able to reach these outer edges.

Also, printers usually print at high speeds, even those used by professional printing services. These top speeds mean that the paper may not feed through the printer in perfect alignment.

Finally, if you try to print images or words all the way to the edge of your printing template, they’ll likely appear cut off in the printed result. You will need a print bleed to reduce the chances of these issues. A printing bleed helps prevent these issues by expanding the material to be printed slightly outside the designated printing area. This provides a polished printed result.  

How To Add Printing Bleed To Your Document

a woman using a printer

You can create a printing bleed easily as you set up your file for print. First, you’ll need to find the bleed option in the document’s setup and then create your bleed over the document’s edges. The size of your print bleed will depend on what you wish to print. The standard print bleeding size is 3.2 mm on either side. However, if you are printing larger products, like banners, you’ll likely want to go larger, such as 5 mm on each side.

Unfortunately, you can’t be sure exactly where the printer will cut the bleed area. So, ensure you extend your images all the way to the end of the bleed zone.

To help you create a a print bleed for your documents, here are standard document sizes and their final measurements with bleed:

Never Forget Your Printing Bleed!

woman cutting the printing bleed from a  printed piece of paper

Sending something to print only to find that it is bordered with a thin white line that has cut parts of your design off is nothing short of annoying. So, don’t forget to set up a printing bleed each time you print! Then, no matter what you’re printing, you’ll be thankful that you put a printing bleed in place for a professional finish each time.

Do you have any tips when using a print bleed? What print bleed sizes would you recommend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!