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From the Design Desk: Bleed it Out

“Does the file have bleeds?”

AlphaGraphics presents...The Bleeds - The Movie!
AlphaGraphics presents…The Bleeds – The Movie!

If this question makes about as much sense to you as picas to pixels, you aren’t alone.  Before you reach for the band-aids, take a look at this hilariously informative video created by some of our friends from AlphaGraphics in Atlanta.

Bleeds aren’t as scary as they sound.  A bleed area is simply the part of the image that extends beyond the trim edge.  Without proper bleeds, your print piece might end up showing a sliver of blank paper along the edges, which is like wearing pants that are just a little bit to short.  Bleeds help counter minor inconsistencies with paper size and print alignment without having to cut into areas of important image or text.

Take a look at the sample image below.

bc bleed template

Notice the bleed area goes outside the crop marks, and then there is an inside margin to keep any text or image from running too close to the trim edge. Some programs, like Adobe InDesign and Illustrator have the ability to add bleeds to a document automatically in the document setup.  In most other programs, however, bleeds must be added manually.  The easiest way to do this is by setting the image size a 1/4 inch larger than the final size, and keeping that margin free of text and any part of the image you don’t want trimmed off!

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