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WTF Is That? Bleeds

wtf

Welcome to our first installment of “WTF Is That?”.

This is a new series of blog posts we will be doing to help shed a little light on some of the more *complicated* parts of CD, DVD, and vinyl manufacturing. We often get the same questions about the same things so we thought why not address each one of them individually to help you out?

One of the biggest issues we come across when it comes to art files for print is BLEEDS. Bleeds you say? Like blood? Slow down Slayer, not blood. What we’re talking about here is print bleeds.

Bleed, or bleeds, is an industry term for printing, where either background color or image, goes beyond the cutline or die line (template) of the final printed piece. Confused? Sit tight.

pass fail image

It’s virtually impossible for any printer or screen printer to print exactly to the edge of a sheet of paper. In order to create the illusion that the art is printed to the edge of the paper, the trick is to ‘bleed’ the background image or color past the cut line of the project and trimmed down in order for it to appear that the print has indeed printed to the edge of that paper. When files are printed without bleed, or not enough bleed, you run the risk of having a white edge or border around the entire piece of print. Which most of you definitely don’t want!

Bleed is especially important in the Copycats process because when you order a product, each piece is not trimmed by hand. After your project has been printed it goes to get die cut, or placed in a giant stack to be cut by a giant blade. This process cuts a handful of printed sheets at a time, saving time, and most importantly, saving you money. But because so many are being cut at once, there might be a slight shift in that stack of paper. Having bleed accounts for any minor movements in the stack. Meaning you don’t have to worry about that pesky sliver of white that would appear if you didn’t extend the art to the bleed line.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re adding bleeds, is that you cannot simply stretch the entire flattened art image to the bleed line. The issue you’ll often run into is if you have text close to the edge, and you pull the entire image out the bleed line, you’ll likely also pull text or critical parts of the artwork past the print safety line. Safety? I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m adding in another printer term. Keeping vital text within a ‘safety’ area is essential when it comes to cutting printed materials. Like I said before, when stacked papers are cut all at once, things tend to shift ever so slightly. When you keep your text, and other vital information, within at least 1/8th of an inch from the cutline, you ensure that nothing important will get cut off. Simple as that.

We hope that this information is helpful in setting up files for your next project. 

Stay tuned for our next installment of “WTF Is That?”!