TPI Solutions Ink Blog: Printing with Bleeds Basics


What is a bleed?

In the printing and graphic design world a bleed is any print or graphic that goes right to the trimmed edge of the printed sheet.

printing-bleedsThere are two types of bleeds that we talk about in printing, a partial bleed and a full bleed.

A partial bleed is when the printed image extends to the edge of the sheet on one to three sides.

A full bleed is when the printed image extends to the edge of the sheet on all four sides. see examples

A project that has no bleed has a white border on all edges of the printed sheet.

Okay, you say, so why is this important to me?

Well, for a couple of reasons:

  1. When designing your printing job you must plan for bleeds and include them in the design file or PDF that will be submitted to your printer.
  2. Bleeds can add to the cost of a job. In most cases a larger sheet must be used to print on and a project that bleeds must be trimmed. So, when working with a tight budget designing a project without bleeds may be your best bet.

Great, I want to create my project in InDesign with bleeds.
How do I do it?

Here are some steps to get you on the right track: 

  • Open a new documentprinting-with-bleeds-indesign
  • Make sure more options is open
  • Indicate the page size of the document (we're using 4x6")
  • Indicate the orientation of the document, vertical or landscape
  • Apply margins
    This is very important. By applying margins you will be able to see the area in which you need to confine the type and artwork that does not bleed.
  • Apply bleed measurement
    Generally printers use a 1/8" (.125") bleed margin on all sides.
  •  Click OK and get to work!

A big thanks to Diana Spurrell in TPI Solutions Ink's design department for the step by step InDesign instructions.

Have you found this basic info on printing bleeds helpful?

About The Author

Carrie is currently the President and Co-Owner of TPI Solutions Ink. She is a graduate of RIT with a BS in Printing Management. Carrie has over 40 years experience in the printing industry.