Bleed is a term used to describe when an image, colour (or other design element) on your printed design runs off the edge of the page.The effect can look great, adding interest and style to your layout and we recommend it. To ensure that the edge of the finished printed document looks neat and professional, the artwork should be created oversize. The artwork with bleed is then professionally printed on a slightly larger paper size and then trimmed neatly to size. Creating bleed allows the images or elements to run off the page, see diagram below.
We recommend a 3mm bleed on all sides of every page. Without bleed being set up in the artwork any movement of the sheet on the press will potentially result in unsightly white edges on your finished job or worse a uneven white boarder where the job has been shrunk to move it away from the sheet edge.
For your document to look professional and be comfortable for your reader, we recommend you leave a ‘space’ around the important content (text, diagrams and image elements) so they do not get closer than 5mm to the edge of the page. We term this space a quiet area and it can contain colour or images just not the important bits you would like your reader to focus upon.
If you ever see a printed work where the designer has not left a quiet area and has placed the key design elements right to the edge of the page, you will often notice that the piece has a ‘compressed’ feeling and is difficult to understand. Often you will see contact details or important tables and diagrams squeezed into the side of the page, it looks bad and therefore it is difficult to read. We recommend you try to make things easy for your reader and keep these details away from the edge.
A good recommendation is to leave 5mm, you can leave more (and we would recommend it on large work like posters) or you can leave less, but 3mm is an absolute minimum even for a small item like a business card. We think you are not loosing space but gaining readability and creating better design.
This advice is useful if you are tackling your own designs. We have an in house design team who will advise as necessary as we want you to be happy with the end product. Alternatively you can ask our team to create the artwork for you.