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How to Design a Print with Bleed!

A common design technique used for printing is bleeding. A bleed simply refers to any elements that overlap the page border. This simple technique helps to avoid any blank paper on the edge of your print if they become misaligned during cutting or mounting. Here are some tips for designing a print with bleed.

The first step is to determine what type of bleed you need, as there are two options. The first option is partial bleed and the second is full bleed. With partial, only a few elements of your design will overlap the border and with full, elements of your document will overlap the boarder on all sides. Once you have determined what type of bleed you want to use, you need to set your crop marks. Crop marks are tiny lines that surround the edge of the document. They show you where the area of the bleed ends and the document begins. Crop marks and bleed work together to tell the print technician where to trim the paper.

If you are going to design a print with bleed, it is best to work with a program such as Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator. These programs have standard bleed settings, so it easy to make adjustments. If you are using Adobe InDesign for example, the bleed settings can be found in the new file dialog box, under more options. Depending on your version of creative suites, you may find your bleed settings in a different location. Photoshop does not have any bleed settings, but you can create them yourself by inputting the bleed size to the document size. For example, if your image is 100 inches x 100 inches you could add .25 inches to all document sides, creating an image that is 100.5” x 100.5”. After this is completed you can then make a thin black line about 2pt in thickness to where you would like the print to be cropped. This will help the printer understand where trimming should be.

Different countries actually have different standard bleed sizes. In Europe and Japan, the standard bleed size is between 3mm and 5mm. For extra large documents in Europe, the bleed size ranges from 10 mm to 50 mm. In the United States, the standard bleed size is 1/8 inch while die cuts are 1/4 inch.

If you have additional questions about file prepping with a bleed contact us at or contact your sales rep to look at a specific file you may be working on.