What is a printing bleed and why you need to consider it






For those who prepare their own projects for printing, many problems arise in understanding what the printing bleed is and why it should be used. We hope that this article will help you understand the thing.

Printing and bookbinding machines have a larger or smaller margin of error depending on the device class. To correct, hide inaccuracies in machines, printing bleeds are used.

The bleed is the area of graphics of a certain width, usually 2-5 mm on each side, by which the size of the graphics should be increased before being sent to print.

Let’s use a practical example that best reflects the essence of the matter.

Suppose you want to print cards in poker size (63 x 89 mm). The card has graphics and text on it. All these elements, in one or more places, come to the edge of the card.

If we prepare such a project without bleeds, i.e. in 63 x 89 mm format, we will get a printout of the card, which can have white edges of different width on both sides. You have to admit that it does not look good.

This is because when cutting a stack of cards it is not possible to set the guillotine so precisely that it hits the very edge of the card. Even if it was possible, there are several dozen or hundreds of sheets in the stack that are not perfectly aligned. On one side of the cards, white margins may appear on the left and on the other side on the right. This effect is even more visible when printing on both sides. The printer has a margin of error and in principle it is impossible to perfectly match the printout on the first and second side (the reverse side).

Using bleeds, these errors can be eliminated. Most often 3mm bleeds are used, but their size depends on the type of print. In cards, tokens and boards they will be 3 mm, but when printing a box or folding board should be even 1.5 cm.

If you know that the project should include bleeds with a width of 3 mm, it means that the sample card 63 x 89 should be enlarged by 3 mm on each side. The project you are sending for printing should have dimensions of 69 x 95 mm. The bleed field must include graphics and photos reaching the edge of the card, as shown in the picture below.

A grey frame marks the cutting line that is not visible on the card, everything that is outside of it will be cut off, so do not place texts and graphics in this place. The best solution is to keep a safe margin and place important elements at least 3 mm from the cutting line. In the above graphics, the description at the bottom of the card is too close to the cutting line.

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