What is print bleed?
Bleed is a printer’s term that comes into effect when you are in the designing stage of your marketing content.
It is only necessary if your content will be going to print.
Print Bleed is not needed or desired for output to any format other than print. As an example, you would not need to implement bleed on a design intended for a screen.
Print Bleed refers to when the design on a page is extended all the way to the edge of the paper. It is required solely because the printing process has inherent limitations.
A printing press is incapable of printing ink to the edge of a piece of paper.
Technically it can print bleed to edge, however, the end result would be very undesirable to look at. If you did print to the edge of a piece of paper, the ink would build up producing globs of ink around the edge.
In practical terms, a printing press can’t print to the edge of a piece of paper. Even modern digital presses, as well as desktop printers, have this limitation as well. For example, have you noticed when you print your project to a desktop printer, you end up with a white margin around the page? This is because the desktop printer is incapable of printing to the edge of the paper. So in doing so it allows for print clearance thus creating a white/blank margin around the document.
The solution is to avoid the limitations of printing devices that we use. This means to print our jobs that contain bleed on a larger piece of paper and then trim the paper when printed.
An A4 document (297mm x 210mm) with full bleed to edge will need to be printed on SRA4 (320mm x 225mm). This will allow the document to be printed with bleed to edge of an A4 size which will be trimmed.
Below is how a printer will see an SRA4 document printed. The print is then trimmed down so there are no white spaces left.
If you would like further information on creating documents for print or more information on bleed, then please take a look at our Guide on: How to create Print ready artwork