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Printing with Bleeds

"Bleed" is a printing term that is used to describe a document which has images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge and leaving no white margin.
No printers can print right to the edge of a sheet, therefore any standard size prints with bleed must actually be printed on a larger sheet and cut down. For example, an 8.5”x11” page with bleed must be printed on an 11”x17” sheet and then cut to size. Printers also require bleed information on pieces that have bleed to allow for “printer bounce” when cutting a job down to size. Failing to provide bleed information and crop marks can result in finished pieces showing a thin area of white on the edge. In addition to bleed, a margin should also be added to the edges of the document to avoid having your objects look as if they are about to fall of the page, or even worse, actually get cropped off when the document is trimmed! The amount of margin is personal preference, but 1/8” or .125 is typically the minimum. In Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, the bleed setting can be adjusted when creating a new document in the Bleed and Slug menu. For other programs, such as Photoshop, you can simply add a quarter of an inch (or .25) to both dimensions of your sheet and draw a guide line to show the page edge if needed. Simply increasing your document size and keeping a margin in mind in other programs, such as Microsoft Word or Power Point, is an effective method as well.

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