Bleed - "full bleed" vs "no bleed" - what is it?
Bleed refers to printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after printing, or "bleeds" off the edge of the page.
If you do not have a white border on all four sides, then your image has bleed. Bleed is an important factor in any print project. It influences the design, the file specifications, and even the cost.
How do you print full bleed?
There are a few ways to print full-bleed files. The first is to simply "shrink to fit" your file, which will leave an approximate 1/8" white border on all four sides. This is the most cost-effective way to deal with a file that is designed to be full bleed, or if your print file doesn't include any bleed.
To achieve full bleed (no white border), you actually print the piece larger then it's final size and then you cut it down. For example, if you are printing a letter size poster (8.5"x11"), it will actually be printed on 11"x17" paper. Then the excess is cut off, leaving you will a full bleed 8.5"x11".
This process also means that full bleed print projects cost more then their no-bleed counter parts because they are actually larger prints, and then there is the additional cost of cutting. No-bleed print pieces are also more eco-friendly because there is no wasted paper from cutting like there is with full bleed items.
How can I save money and still achieve full bleed?
There is no doubt that full-bleed piece tend to look more professional and high-end then no-bleed pieces. Designing your project with full bleed gives you less design limitations. You can have backgrounds that go all to the edge. There are ways to get this look without your project costing a lot more money. Here are a few techniques that we recommend:
How do I setup a print-ready file with full bleed?
If a white border still does not suit the look you are needing, you will need to provide your print file with at least 1/8" bleed on all four sides. What this means is that your art will actually extend beyond your cut line, leaving your final page size 1/8" bigger on all sides (for a business card, your final pdf size would be 3.75" x 2.25". For a letter size print, your final pdf size would be 8.75"x11.25" and so on.)