Printers use this word to describe the area where artwork extends beyond the final trim of the page. If you want artwork on the edge of your final product, you will need to add bleed. The reason is that when the paper goes through the cutter, it may shift a tiny bit from side to side. If the document has artwork that goes all the way to the trim, but not beyond it, then the slightest shift will result in a white line along the edge of the final product.

The image on the right shows an example of a document with bleed. The crop marks on the corners identify where to cut. The red outline has been added to show the final trim.

We require 1/8 of an inch of bleed in your documents to ensure that your product comes out the way you want it. It is also recommended to keep “live matter” such as text within a 1/8 inch margin of the final trim.

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sample of bleed