Commercial Printing: There’s Always Time to Bleed

southeast magazine printing company

Commercial Printing: There’s Always Time to Bleed

If you’ve ever watched the movie Predator, you’ll remember one of the best quotes ever. Jesse Ventura (playing Blaine Cooper) is told by his sidekick, Pancho, “You’re bleeding, man. You’re hit.”

Blaine’s reply: “I ain’t got time to bleed.”

Thankfully, in the world of printing, any southeast magazine printing company knows that “bleed” takes on a totally different meaning.

Okay, So What is Bleed?

In the printing industry, the term “bleed” is used to describe pretty much any time the printing goes all the way to the edge. It could be bars, photos, clipart, shapes, background color, borders, or almost anything that runs off the edge of the paper.

To make bleed happen, a southeast magazine printing company will print a job on a press sheet that is larger than the final size of the print. Once the files are created, they need to be oversized and trim marks and bleed added. The crop marks will show the cut lines inside the image’s total area. Instead of cutting the final pieces smaller, it’s better to use a larger image in order for the final sizes to be accurate.

But Why Do Printers Need Bleed Really?

Depending on the type of printing equipment a southeast magazine printing company is using, there is always the possibility of a bit of movement or “bounce” between sheets. The sheets are the same size no matter what, however where the image actually lies can vary ever so slightly.

For example, some digital equipment possibly won’t have a tolerance of 1/32” of an inch in either direction. That might not sound like much, but if a sheet is 1/32” to the right, and another sheet 1/32” to the left, you get a difference of 1/16” from one sheet to the other. Once the sheets are cut down, there is the chance of white showing on one or more edges from sheet to sheet.

How Can You Make Bleed Happen?

Depending on which program you use, you have to do two things to make sure your files include bleed:

  1. Ensure the page is correctly sized

If the program you’re using utilizes Pasteboards or Artboards, as does MS Publisher, InDesign, Quark, or Adobe Illustrator, you can set your page size to the actual finish size you want. You can then set the bleed area later.

If the program doesn’t use art boards, like Photoshop, MS PowerPoint, or MS Word, then you will have to set the page size larger, knowing that you’re going to have to cut the edges off. For example, if you want the finish to be 8 ½” x 11 inches, set the page size to 9” x 11 ½” and keep in mind you will cut ¼” from every side.

  1. Set margins and guides for safe areas and trims

If you already have bleed set up for your files, you still need to keep live type and other important elements away from your trim edges. Keep such things at least 1/8” away from your trim edge. The preference is ¼”.

Extending Images and Bleed Elements

Always remember to ensure than anything that bleeds off the edge is extended past the final trim area by 1/8”.

Producing the Final Files

Whether you’re exporting, printing to PDF, saving as, or any other method you prefer to use, make sure the final page size is big enough to include the extended bleed elements. If you can, add bleed marks and crop marks too.

Bleed is Always Possible

No matter what program you prefer to use at your southeast magazine printing company, bleed is always possible and should be provided.

When you review your files, no matter what the final size, the pages need to display slightly larger. The bottom line: you need to start with good files if you want the best printing results.

Jesse Ventura may not have had time to bleed, but printers and designers always do!

No Idea What To Do?

If this all sounds pretty daunting, talk to the team at Martin Printing about your commercial printing needs.