How Do Bleeds Add Appeal to Artwork

By: Shawn Nag  |  Posted In: Design Tips  |  November 16, 2009

If you are a novice and haven’t used any printing services to get your promotional material printed then it should always be remembered that bleeds are an important facet of printing. When taking up the printing services it is always important that you know the way a printer works. Suppose you require 4000, 320 GSM (or 14pt.) 4×6″ flyers, these are generally not printed on 4×6″ sized pages as is the common conception of most designers. They are in fact printed 8 UP on SRA3 (12.6×17.71″) cards that are bigger than the 4×6 size papers and then they are neatly trimmed into size to make them appear like 4×6 size.

What are printers bleeds?


Suppose you are ordering for an 8.5×11 flyer, it is not possible for the printer to print to the edges of the paper. So, the printers take a larger sized paper and trim it to the size ordered for. In order to produce a bleed effect for the images, fills and photos, the printing service providers extend the artwork to 3mm beyond the cutline. Many believe that for producing bleed on a 8.5×11 artwork, the length of the artwork should be 8.5″ x 11″ (i.e., same as the paper length). This is a very wrong notion because you will always need to extend the artwork by 3mm to get good bleeds.

What happens if a bleed is not added?


When an artwork is trimmed for printing it is shortened by 1 or 2mm. Though the movement looks negligible but it can cause some problems with the print output. If you do not add bleeds to an artwork then there is a 2mm white border on the sides of the print. Though it’s small it will be noticeable. One thing that should be remembered while printing promotional materials is that the texts should not be close to the trim cut line. If so happens then there is a chance that they might be cut off. You should always ensure that the text or logo is at least 5mm (in normal course) or 8mm (in case of bleeds) in from the trim/cut line.


Any promotional material that you create should be clean and clear to bear its fruits. So, sending the files in proper print ready format is always the least you can do.