Bleeding your Print Documents

If you’re new to print design, and we all were once then this question might be one you have thought, or come across yourself; “What is Bleed and why does my printer ask for it?”.

To put it simply Bleed represents the parts of text or objects that extend past the page boundary to account for inaccuracy from the slight movement of the paper on the press or movement during cutting. Without Bleed the final print could result in images, graphics or backgrounds that are supposed to extend off the page edge not quite reaching the edge, leaving a border of blank paper instead. Oops.

Bleed Margins provide an extended area taking the images, graphics or background off the page a sufficient amount to counteract these slight deviations. Typically the Margin required by most printers is 3mm or in the USA 1/8”.

Adding a Bleed Margin in InDesign:

When you are creating a New Document, the Bleed Margin options are located under the Bleed and Slug options at the foot of the box.

The values are locked to be the same, that way changing one value changes all. It is possible to have varying Bleed Margin dimensions though it’s not common. Type 3mm for a 3mm Bleed.

The Bleed Margin appears just outside the black lines of the Page Outline on the Paste Board.

Margins on the Page

Using the Bleed Margin:

If any Images, Graphics, Backgrounds or even Text are required to flow to the edge of the page, place the edge of the content against the Red Bleed Margin and not the Page Outline.

Use the Bleed Margin

Exporting a PDF including the Bleed Margin:

When exporting the document as a PDF the Bleed Margins can be included in the PDF as Crop Marks.

PDF Settings

Bleed Options for a PDF Export

In the Export PDF settings, the Marks and Bleeds option includes a set of Check Boxes that includes Crop Marks, Colour Bars and amongst others Bleed Marks. Check the box next to Bleed Marks. The Bleed Margins will appear on the exported PDF.

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