A bleed is an extra margin on a printed product that is meant to be cut off when the product is trimmed to its final size. Bleed basically means that the color and graphics on a printed piece extend off the paper to ensure continuity of the color or image to the edge of your finished product.
When we print jobs such as business cards or postcards, we print multiple copies of each card on a single large sheet of paper. We gang-run the job and then trim each individual card down to its final size.
During the trimming process, a product may be trimmed within or beyond the trimming line since it is impossible to hit the trim line perfectly every time. As a result, the product may have a white edge, or a portion of the artwork from the surrounding cards. So a bleed on each individual product provides an extra margin to prevent mistakes and imperfections.
A full bleed is required for all print-ready files with text, images or color that go beyond the “safe zone”. For the correct bleed for your product, please view the list below. For example, most business cards have a 0.125″ bleed, so a 2″ x 3.5″ business card with square corners will have a bleed size of 2.125″ x 3.625″.
Bleed Margin Specifications:
0.125″ or 1/8″: most business cards, folded business cards, bookmarks, CD packages, club flyers, collectors cards, DVD packages, event tickets, most postcards, rack cards, rip business cards, rolodex cards, stickers, table tents, greeting cards, “wink” special shapes, a-frame signs, brochures, door hangers, envelopes, flyers, hang tags, illumaprint panels, folded hang tags, letterheads, mini menus, notepads, posters, retractable banner stands, staggered cut flyers, banners, posters (wide), window clings, window decals, yard signs.
0.1875″: roll labels
0.25″ or 1/4″: booklets, calendars, catalogs
0.325″: business cards with round corners in either 2” x 3.5” and 3.35” x 2.17” size. Postcards with round corners in the following sizes: 4” x 6”, 5.5” x 8.5”, 4.25” x 5.5”, 5” x 7”. All special shapes, except for “wink” special shape, which is 0.125″.