When organising your printing, if you are supplying your own files to a designer or a printer and you would like your print to go all the way to the edge of the paper you will need to supply bleed on your file.
Here is an explanation of Why and What is BLEED
Bleed is typically about 3-5mm* overlap of your graphics and is needed in your artwork as your project will be printed oversized and cut to your FINAL trim size in the printing process. This is to allow for small movements that can happen in both the printing and the trimming process. You will also need to ensure that all of your elements such as text are keep within the SAFE area for this exact same reason.
*This is a typical measurement but can be different depending on your printer and the item you are printing.
When you are working with a designer and they are doing your “print-ready” artwork for you, this is part of what they will be doing for you to ensure your final printed result is what is expected.
So, if you are doing your own print artwork – a TIP is to make sure you have the specifications from your printer as to the amount of bleed and the safe area they need before you spend too much time finessing your design. When you create your artwork file depending on the program you are using to do this, the process will be slightly different. This is why programs like Word are not acceptable to create print-ready artwork from. However, as a designer love to receive the clients “mockup” and content in any digital format and I will then recreate the print-ready artwork from there in either Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or InDesign – all commercial programs that are set up for designers to place these requirements in the final files.
Here is an example of the setup, the actual dimensions will vary depending on your final project and will vary from printer to printer:
When you supply bleed on your file, some printers will require you to also include Trim marks on your files such as these ones in this pic, the trim lines indicate for the printer where the cut is to go for the final file. Just to confuse us though, some printers prefer NOT to have trim lines. On some big large print jobs you will also require additional lines called registration marks here as well. Again, this is why its best if you have a designer doing your files or you are doing it yourself to find out these requirements BEFORE you start your design to save time (and money if you are paying someone) who will have to add these things it later
So I hope this helps you understand bleed a little bit better.