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A Little Message About Bleed

If you’re like me when you heard “bleed” for the first time in reference to graphic art, you definitely didn’t envision the same thing as would a seasoned graphic designer.

Your mind’s path may have led you to something more like this:

But graphic art bleed is actually referring to this:

As you can see from this image, bleed has it’s place almost at the paper’s edge.

So, why is bleed so important? It’s because bleed is essentially extra printed material! Bleed is included in the final print file so that the end product will show color edge to edge (not white edges, unless of course your background color is white).

Bleed allows wiggle room for printers because it is subject to shrink by the heat of the heater during the dye sub process. It also allows extra wiggle room during the finishing process as cutters will need to cut off excess material, and seamstresses or seamsters, respectfully, will need material to hem and sew. Bleed may or may not be included in the final product, depending on all these factors.  

And considering all these factors, bleed also helps to ensure your graphic art will come out as expected. Because, isn't that what you really want anyway?

So, please consider what happens with bleed when you start designing. Here’s some quick advice:

  • Don’t put your text or logos on the bleed section! But, do extend your background colors onto the bleed section of any template that includes a bleed border.

  • When placing text and logos, always allow room for margins. To help guide you, our templates include a “Yellow Safe Zone” so you know to place all important logo and information here, and only here.

  • One of our graphic designers, Aileen, says it’s like decorating a cake. “Yellow Safe Zones” (see templates) are for words and design. Are you going to want your design on the edges? No, you want to leave a nice margin so it looks appealing. But you still need to frost the whole cake before you put your message in the middle.


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