What is a print bleed?

Understanding Print Bleed: Ensuring Precision in Printing

In the world of design and printing, achieving precision is paramount. One crucial aspect that often demands meticulous attention is print bleed. Print bleed might sound like jargon reserved for industry insiders, but its significance extends to anyone involved in creating or producing printed materials, from graphic designers to marketers and beyond. Let’s delve into what print bleed is, why it matters, and how it ensures the quality of printed materials.

What is Print Bleed?

Print bleed refers to the intentional extension of artwork or images beyond the finished dimensions of a printed piece. In simpler terms, it’s the extra area around the edges of a document that gets trimmed off after printing. This overextension ensures that when the document is trimmed to its final size, there are no white edges or unfinished borders.

Why Does Print Bleed Matter?

The necessity of print bleed becomes apparent when you consider the printing process itself. Commercial printers typically cannot print precisely to the edge of a sheet of paper. There are slight discrepancies in feeding and cutting, which can result in tiny white strips at the edges if the artwork doesn’t extend beyond the trim area.

Imagine designing a brochure with a vibrant background color that’s intended to cover the entire page. Without bleed, there’s a risk that you’ll end up with thin, white lines on the edges where the paper wasn’t perfectly trimmed. This not only looks unprofessional but also detracts from the overall impact of the design.

How is Print Bleed Implemented?

Implementing print bleed requires careful consideration during the design process. Designers typically extend any background colors, images, or graphics that are intended to reach the edge of the page by an extra 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch beyond the final trim size. This ensures that even if there are slight variations in the printing and cutting process, the design will still appear seamless.

For instance, if you’re designing a standard 8.5 x 11-inch flyer with bleed, your document size should be 8.75 x 11.25 inches. This extra 1/8 inch around all four sides ensures that when the flyer is trimmed to its final size, there are no unwanted white borders.


Print bleed might seem like a technical detail, but it plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and professionalism of printed materials. By extending artwork beyond the final trim size, designers mitigate the risk of unsightly white edges and ensure that the design appears seamless from edge to edge. Understanding and implementing print bleed correctly not only enhances the visual appeal of printed materials but also reflects a commitment to precision and excellence in design and printing. So, the next time you’re preparing artwork for print, remember the importance of bleed—it’s the difference between a polished, professional finish and a lackluster result.