The term “bleed” in printing comes from a loose analogy to cutting oneself, which causes bleeding to occur. So, when correctly setting up an image with bleed you are actually planning to cut off part of the image at the end (making the image bleed).

The reason to create a bleed is to allow for any or part of an image, no matter how small, to extend to the very edge of the paper.

The “Safe” area is an area approximately 1/4″ from the edge of the trim boundary where you should avoid placing critical design elements such as text.

To set this situation up correctly requires 4 main things for you to do.

  1. Plan to print your image to a sheet of paper that is larger than what you want the final image size to be (called the trim size).
  2. Set a bleed amount in the software you are using (typically Illustrator or inDesign). This is done in the document set up and will produce a red line outside and surrounding the entire artboard.
  3. All of the image that you want to go to the edge must be extended to the
    red bleed line.
  4. Finally, in the print dialog box you must select (check) the trim marks option.