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Understanding Bleed in Design for Printing

Every designer should have a firm grip of what bleed is and why it is important for the design process. Bleed printing is a part of design that extends beyond the trim size, such as images and borders. This design area has to be included to avoid getting cut off when printed.

Bleed printing allows you to trim the design flawlessly after it has been printed. Including a bleed won’t make a difference to your design.


bleed design


Bleed also makes sure that every printing error won’t significantly affect the final result. The bleed size depends on your design and things you want to be included.

Bleed standard size for Below the Line (BTL) material is 3 – 5 mm. It usually works on brochures, posters, books and others.

For instance: for A4 pages with 210 mm x 297 mm, you will need to add the bleed by minimum 3-5 mm before making any design changes, thus the design area is changed to 216 mm x 3030 mm.

If you work on magazines, tabloids and others which pages are made up without separating the trimmed lines and page layout, be sure to set the bleed printing. Otherwise, the printing result after trimmed finishing will look messy because the cutting points shifted outward or inward the final design.

You can also minimize any possible problems by setting the design to minimum 5 mm from the trimmed lines to avoid margin overlapping and create a better and more professional look.

Bleed is possible to work with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop by following these steps:

  • For Adobe Illustrator, open File > Document Setup > Trim Area and set to 0.0” (zero)
  • For Adobe Photoshop, open File > Page Setup > Margins and set to 0.0” (zero)

That was a brief explanation about bleed in printing. Give yourself a try! 

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