Bleed Printing – What Does It Mean?

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Bleed Printing – What Does It Mean?

Category : Getting It Right , Printing

business cards

An illustration to show bleed, trim and safe lines

The Basics of Bleed Printing – Bleed is a term that refers to elements in a printed file that extend beyond the edge of the sheet before being trimmed away. Printers usually require 1/8″ extra to cut off/trim the final piece.


A Full Bleed
The photo/image or background is extended beyond the edge of the final cut size, leaving no white space (margins) around the edge of the finished product once trimmed.

No Bleed
The photo/image or background is reduced to fit within the safe area creating a white border (margin) around the printed piece.

bleed printing
On the left the  image the file is set up with a full bleed. As you can see, the background extends beyond the cut  line (pink line) indicating where the final trimming will occur.

On the right, the image has no bleed.  The cut line (pink line) will leave a white space around the final product.

  • The BLEED line (blue line) – This is where the background/image should extend to.
  • The CUT line (pink line) – This is where the final cut is made and is the finished size of the product. Anything outside of this line will be cut away.
  • The SAFE line (yellow line) – This is the ‘safe’ area. Keep text and important elements within this area to avoid getting trimmed.

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