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25/10/2017 Printing FAQs

What is ‘Bleed’ and Why is It Important?

Man operating print guillotine

Any good designer will include bleed as standard when designing a page for printing. However, with the increasing user-friendliness of design software such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop, some people are preparing their own design work and may not think to include bleed margins. We thought a quick explanation of what bleed is and why it is important might come in handy.

What is Bleed?

In printing terms, bleed is the allowance for tiny degrees of paper movement during printing. By making your artwork bigger (just a couple of millimetres in each direction) than your final trimmed page, you ensure that there will be no white lines appearing at the edge of your coloured page after it has been trimmed. 3mm allowance in all directions is the industry standard for bleed. This is an extremely generous margin. There’s no way the paper in our machines could ever be out by that much – but that’s the point of bleed! 

How Do I Apply Bleed?

Specialist publishing and design software such as InDesign and QuarkXpress have features that allow you to include bleed either when creating a document or saving your design as a pdf. However, these programs don’t come cheap and are most likely to be used by professional designers. Software such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop that the skilled amateur is more likely to be using do not have a ‘magic button’ that allows for bleed. If you are using these programs to design your pages, you must set your bleed margins yourself. For example, if you want your final page to be trimmed to A3 (297 x 420mm), make your design image 303 x 426mm.

Can Colour Print Help?

We certainly can! If you feel out of your depth with the technicalities of these complex design matters, let us take care of the design and preparation for printing for you. You can work closely with our design team to make sure that you get exactly the images that you want. We can make sure that everything is accurate in terms of bleed margins and crop marks.

For more information about any of our printing services, please call our office on 01603 488001 or email any questions you may have to We look forward to hearing from you!

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