What is Bleed in Printing and How Do I Add it to my Artwork?
Have you ever created a brilliant design, only to have it printed and find that part of your artwork has been cut off?
This is the result of forgetting to add printing bleed. To help ensure your printed collateral looks excellent, we've put together this handy guide detailing everything you need to know about bleed as well as how to add bleed to your artwork in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Canva.
What is bleed?
During any printing process, there is always a small degree of movement on the press. To account for this, you extend the printed items 3mm beyond the edge of your artwork. This is known as the bleed and is cut off during printing.
How do I add bleed?
Print bleed can be added when you set up your file for print. This is added in different ways, depending on the software you're using.
Slug, Crop Marks and Bleed
Slug - The name used to describe the area outside the printing and bleed areas of the document.
Crop Marks - Lines printed in the corners of your artwork to show the printer where to trim the paper.
Bleed - The area that is cut off during printing.
Page Edge - The edge of your print after it has been trimmed.
How to add bleed to your artwork in Adobe Illustrator
When you create a new Illustrator document, the section for bleed will be just under your page size.
If you're editing an existing document, go to 'File' and then open 'Document Set up' and enter 3mm bleed there.
If you're printing a larger product, such as a banner, a 5 mm bleed is recommended. Save your document as a PDF, and it's ready to print!
How to add bleed to a new document in Adobe InDesign
When creating a new document, select the print tab at the top. Scroll to the bottom, select the bleed and snug panel and add your bleed measurement (usually 3mm) to each of the sides.
How to add bleed to an existing document in Adobe InDesign
To add bleed to a document that has already been created, select 'File', 'Document Settings', expand 'Bleed and Snug' and then enter your values.
You will see the bleed guidelines on your artwork. So, if you want your artwork to run to the side of the page, take it up to the bleed line.
When exporting your artwork, as a PDF, ensure you select the 'Marks and Bleeds' option and click the check box for 'Use document bleed settings.'
How to add bleed to your artwork in Adobe Photoshop
Unfortunately, Photoshop doesn't allow you to add bleed automatically when you create a document.
To add bleed in Photoshop, simply add 6mm to your document's desired height and width. This will give you a 3mm bleed around your document.
How to add bleed to your artwork in Canva
Adding bleed to your document in Canva is simple. Simply click the download button, ensure the file type 'PDF Print' is selected and then tick the 'Crop marks and bleed' box.
Find Out More
Adding bleed to your artwork is a vital step for ensuring your collateral looks excellent when printed. Don't forget to add bleed to your print-ready artwork, next time you order your marketing collateral.
If you have any more questions about adding bleed to your print artwork, don't hesitate to contact a member of our friendly team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 0116 259 9955.
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