What is Bleed and Why Does it Matter When Printing?

  • Feb 7, 2020

What is Bleed and Why Does it Matter When Printing?

Bleed in printing

What is bleed?

In printing, bleed is needed to make proper cuts and provide a good final product. So, what is bleed? Bleed is the area between the edge of the sheet and the final print size that will get trimmed off. A bleed area is very necessary because, without it, your artwork will get cut off. When you print with bleed the artwork needs to be printed on a bigger sheet in order to cut to size.

Why is adding bleed necessary?

When the prints pass through a commercial printer there might be some shifting due to speed. Any small mechanical variations can leave white edges around the artwork where it shouldn’t be. Adding that ¼” additional bleed all around fixes that issue. Thus, having that additional bleed for cutting a more accurate final product.

Understanding bleed and sizes

The bleed additional bleed should be an extension of the file’s background and text close to the edge should be avoided.

Here are some popular sizes with the final size and size with bleed.

Popular Document Sizes Final Size Size w/ Bleed
Business card 3.5″ x 2″ 3.75″ x 2.25″
Postcard 4″ x 6″ 4.25″ x 6.25″
Invitation 5″ x 7″ 5.25″ x 7.25″
Letter (standard) paper 8.5″ x 11″ 8.75″ x 11.25″
Legal paper 8.5″ x 14″ 8.75″ x 14.25″
Pocket folder 9″ x 12″ 9.25″ x 12.25″

 We have templates and a professional design staff for all of your Printing and Promotional Product needs.  Call us (301.606.8484)  or drop us an email benny@kgmedia.net and let us show you how we can make this part of your job - Easy!


A file properly set up with accurate bleed results in a polished and professional final product.  And to look good is to feel good - and we want you to look Marvelous!