No I am not talking about shedding blood. I am talking about your print files. They need to bleed. What does that mean?

Here is a brief summary of the lines and spaces you need to be aware of on every print job.

  1. The cut line – where you want your job to be cut, it is the finished flat piece.
  2. The bleed line – a line that is outside of the cut line. All artwork that touches the cutline needs to bleed at least ⅛” past the cut line.
  3. Safety area – where we recommend all text not go past. It is ⅛” inside of the cut line.
  4. Folding lines – Make sure not to have important info or images on the fold lines.
  5. Die Lines – if you are creating a custom shaped piece you will need to work with die linesSetup Bleed

Of all of these the bleed is the most important and also the most overlooked. In all of the project files that come into the shop here at Citrograph Printing Co. I have to tell people at least once a week that they need to add the bleed to their files.

Why bleed?

The bleed is so important because when a job is printed there is always a little shift of where the image is printing on the sheet of paper that happens during a print run. When printing a job I have seen shift of almost 1/8″ on a digital press. This is a bit on the extreme end but it can happen depending on the paper and how the machine is running at the time. A traditional offset press is going to be much more precise, but some times a shift can happen. Now add a second side to the print job and that shift of the image gets compounded to cause quite an issue. If there is no bleed included a white gap will show on one or all the edges of your prints.

How do you set up bleeds within your files?

In most programs it is something you would specify at the start of the project when you are creating the document size. If your project is already underway there is normally a document setup option where you can add the space needed. Once it is there you can expand your artwork to fit the new space. If no bleed setting is available in the program you are using to create the files you will need to make the document size larger by 1/4″ and then place guides in the document 1/8″ inside of all the edges.

Depending on how the job is run, on a press, digital printing or large format, the measurements may change slightly. There will also be variances as well with different media, for example, foam-board, vinyl banners, and coroplast might all have different bleed requirements.

Written by zach