What Is a Bleed?
A ‘bleed” in printing parlance is an image that runs off the edge of the page. It can be a thin line, some wording, a photo or a solid background.
Bleeds are a popular design strategy and can enhance the look of many types of printed documents, but they require the printer to use a larger sheet size which will be trimmed to the final size after printing.
Here’s why: Most printing equipment, whether offset, digital or other technologies, cannot print an image all the way to the edge of a sheet of paper. They require at least a small margin on one or more edges. Try making a photocopy of a solid black original and the result will normally be a black copy except for a white frame around all four sides.
So in order to print bleeds, the designer must add extra image that can be trimmed off after printing, and the printer must use oversize paper and then do the trimming. For example, an 8.5 x 11 flyer with bleeds could be designed on an 8.75 x 11.25 page size and printed on a 9 x 12 sheet, then trimmed to 8.5 x 11.
You can find an example of how to set up bleeds here. Still not sure?
Please call with questions!