What does the printing term bleed mean?

A Full Bleed refers to printing your design all the way to the edge of the paper (or canvas). The final product will not have a border (borderless printing). Special consideration must be taken in your design as the bleed consumes ¼" on the width and the height of the product. You have two choices on how to handle printing with a bleed:

  • Reduced size: An 8.5" x 11" page will produce an 8.25" x 10.75" full bleed page (a reduction of .25" on the width and height).
  • Use larger stock (paper): For an 8.5" x 11" final output you will need to use paper measuring 8.75" x 11.25" (increased cost of paper as it is oversized).

Many publications have opted to go with the reduced size option in order to save on their printing cost when a bleed is needed. For instance, if you have a photo that will be printed to the edge of a 5 x 5 final size, the image before print would need to be sized to 5.25 x 5.25 in size so when trimmed there will not be a white edge showing. In summary for a full bleed your design must allow for an extra .125" (⅛" on each side) for a total of  .25" bleed.

See example below: