Bleed – What is it and What’s it for?

Bleed – What is it and What’s it for?

One of the things our customers have the most problem with is dealing with pages that bleed. Often times they don’t realize a bleed is necessary but they do want images, backgrounds and art elements to extend to the edges of the page. So, what exactly is a bleed?

A page bleed compensates for and/or eliminates mechanical problems when your project is being trimmed after printing. If the graphic element — pictures, graphics, or background color — is not carried beyond the edge of the page, there is the possibility that a small area of white will remain after the page is trimmed.

When page elements, such as pictures, graphics or background need to extend completely to the document’s edge, they will need to be extended beyond the finished page size and then be trimmed off. The amount to extend is the bleed. Typically a bleed will extend 1/8 in. (.125”, 3.175mm or 9 points) beyond the edge of the page.

Layout of a bleed for 6x9 book

Bleed must be built into the file when it is created.

How do I add bleed to my design?

Adobe Photoshop
  1. Open Photoshop and click File > New…
  2. Enter the FULL BLEED dimensions. That is, 1/4″ extra both vertically and horizontally.
  3. Set the Resolution at 300 pixels/inch
  4. Set the Color Mode to CMYK
Adobe Illustrator
  1. Open Illustrator and click File > New…
  2. Enter the TRIM dimensions in the Width and Height boxes
  3. Enter 0.125 for the top, bottom, left and right bleed
  4. Set the Color Mode to CMYK
  5. Set the Raster Effects at High (300ppi)
Adobe InDesign
  1. Open InDesign and click File > New > Document…
  2. Enter the actual document size (for a book, an example would be 6×9)
  3. If you do not see “Bleed and Slug” at the bottom of the window, click the “More Options” button.
  4. Enter 0.125” for the top, bottom, left and right bleed
Microsoft Word

Creating a file with bleed using Microsoft Word is not so easy.

Document Size Specifications

To set up the Bleed: Microsoft word does not have the ability to create a proper bleed, so you will have to set up a custom page size to fake it.

Click the Page Layout tab.

Click Size and choose “More paper sizes…”

Word document size for bleed setup

In the Width and Height boxes type in your document size in inches, including bleed. The page size including bleed is the size you want, plus .25″. For example: a 6″ x 9″ book MUST be set up as 6.25″ x 9.25″.

Page setup for bleed in Microsoft Word

Click OK

To set up the Safety Zones: There is no way to set a bleed zone in Word, however you can set margins that can act as a safety zone. 


Click the Page Layout tab.

Click Martins and choose Custom Margins…

Margins for Bleed in Microsoft Word

Type in .125″ for each margin box.

Setting up bleed in Microsoft Word

Click OK

Word will not allow you to set type or place images outside the margins.

 

Of course if you still can’t get the hang of setting up your files for bleed, API Print Productions is always here to help.

 

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