What is bleed?

Have you ever printed out a photo and tried to cut it out exactly along the edges? 

As you’ll know, it’s very difficult to do this without leaving irregular strips of white at the edges, or by cutting into your photo, resulting in a smaller size than intended.

The industry standard way of solving this problem is known as bleed.

Bleed is an extra area outside the edges of your design, that you know is going to be cut off during the finishing process. This allows a professional edge-to-edge effect as well as the finished size that you’re expecting. 

For example, if you have 3mm bleed specified for a design, make sure that any backgrounds or items you want to be printed up to the edges extend at least 3mm past the page edges in your document. See this illustration:

When you export your PDF in your chosen desktop publishing software, you may specify how much extra bleed to include in the PDF. As desktop publishing software varies, please refer to the help menu inside your chosen software to find out how to add bleed to your PDF. These online articles may help: 

For Microsoft Publisher (opens in a new tab/window)

For Adobe Indesign (opens in a new tab/window)