How to Print with Bleeds
In the printing world “bleed” is a term that describes a document with elements that extend to the page’s edge. Whether an image or text, these elements reach beyond the trim edge, leaving no blank margins. No printer can print to the edge of any material. This brings up an important question: how do I print with bleeds?
Luckily, the solution is an easy one. Printing a standard-size digital design on a larger sheet, then cutting it down, solves the pesky problem of missing text and cut-off images. For example, when designing an 8.5” x 11” document, simply print the design on an 11” x 17” sheet and cut to the desired size.
Easy enough, right? Almost. There’s an additional step that must be taken in order to account for “printer bounce.” Printers need bleed information on designs with bleeds in order to avoid misprinting. Forgetting this all-important step can result in printed designs showing a thin line of white margin around the edge.
Along with bleed, it’s also important to include a margin on the edges of the document. This prevents your design from looking like it’s going to run off the page or, worse, getting cut off when trimming the document to size. The size of the margin is preferential, but 1/8” is typically the minimum.
Depending on which design program you’re using, it’s simple to adjust the margins When using the Adobe Creative Suite, you can change the bleed setting when creating a new document. Simply locate the “Bleed and Slug” menu to make your new settings. Photoshop is slightly different but equally simple: add 1/4” to both length and width. You may even draw a guideline to show the actual page edge if needed.
When using the Microsoft Suite and its design programs, like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, keep a similar method in mind. Increase the size of your document, and make sure your margins are at least 1/8”.
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