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All about bleeds


What are bleeds?

Bleed is a term used by printers to specify that the artwork is meant to extend beyond the edge of your design 0.125" on each side. This is so that the mechanical fluxuations of the press and cutting don't cause white lines and gaps on your finished product. For example, below is an 8.5" x 11" document with trim line and bleed line indicated:


When preparing your art for professional printing you will need to include BLEEDS on any design with art that is supposed to print all the way to the trim edge. This means that you need to set up your documents properly, and export them with the correct settings.

I will cover the proper setup for Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop in this post.

Document Setup:

Adobe InDesign

  1. Open InDesign and click File > New > Document...

  2. Enter the TRIM dimensions under Page Size (for example, a standard letter size would be 8.5” x 11”)

  3. If you do not see "Bleed and Slug" at the bottom of the window, click the "More Options" button.

  4. Enter 0.125” for the top, bottom, left and right bleed


Adobe Illustrator

  1. Open Illustrator and click File > New...

  2. Enter the TRIM dimensions in the Width and Height boxes (for example, the trim dimension on a standard letter size would be 8.5” x 11”)

  3. Enter 0.125” for the top, bottom, left and right bleed

  4. Set the the Color Mode to CMYK

  5. Set the Raster Effects at High (300ppi)


Adobe Photoshop

  1. Open Photoshop and click File > New...

  2. Enter the FULL BLEED dimensions. That would be trim size PLUS .25” extra both vertically and horizontally. For a trim size of 8.5" x 11", enter 8.75" x 11.25".

  3. Set the Resolution at 300 pixels/inch

  4. Set the Color Mode to CMYK


Export Setup:

How to export your Adobe documents to pdf INCLUDING bleeds​:

Adobe InDesign

  1. Open InDesign and click File > Export > Adobe PDF

  2. In the Export dialog box select “Marks and Bleeds” on the left.

  3. If you do not see "Bleed and Slug" at the bottom of the window, click the "More Options" button.

  4. Enter 0.125” for the top, bottom, left and right bleed, and export the file.


Adobe Illustrator

  1. Open Illustrator and click File > Save As > Adobe PDF

  2. In the Save As dialog box select “Marks and Bleeds” on the left.

  3. Enter 0.125” for the top, bottom, left and right bleed, and Save PDF.


Adobe Photoshop

  1. ​Open Photoshop and click File > Save As > Photoshop PDF

  2. Proceed to save your file.

As always, if you have questions or concerns please give us a call, we're happy to help!


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