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This is one of the areas that we get asked about most – “how do I add bleed? / what is bleed? / why do I need bleed?” – you get the message! So here we go:

When designing for print there a few specific areas that you need to get right to ensure you get the best outcome from you artwork, bleed is certainly an important factor that is often neglected.

What is Bleed?

“Bleed” is basically the area of artwork that exceeds the edge of the paper, so if you would like to print your logo and have it running off the edge of the page, you need to add bleed. This is done primarily to avoid leaving white paper edges when the document gets cut down after printing. Anything that you want to run off the edge of the sheet will need to be placed upto the bleed line….

….these images probably explain it a bit better than me:

Black is the paper edge, pink is the bleed zone

Black is the paper edge, pink is the bleed zone

Standard bleed zone is 3mm on EACH edge

Standard bleed zone is 3mm on EACH edge

So if you’re setting your document up in InDesign, and you’d like your document to have bleed, the “New Document” window should look like this:

new doc window


So your new document will look like this, with the red outer guide indicating the 3mm of added bleed:

doc with bleed frame


The next step then, is to create my artwork, remembering to place anything that I’d like to run off the page upto the bleed line:

this blue box

Once that’s done, the next thing to consider is “tick marks” – also called crop marks, crops, ticks etc…. basically the tick marks show the printer where they need to cut your document, and they look like this:

bleed diag 3


Most commercial printers like artwork to be supplied in PDF format, so to create your finished file as a PDF with tick marks, here’s what to do, InDesign and Adobe make it very easy for us:

indesign pdf


Then, after choosing where to save it:



pdf pdf

And hey presto, a lovely PDF document, with bleed and tick marks, all ready to go! I hope this blog post makes it all a little bit clearer, and shows that bleed is nothing to be scared of! Do let me know if you have any questions and I would be delighted to answer them for you!!!

Don’t forget, here at Exactis we will happily do artwork for you, but if you prefer to do your own we are happy to help you along the way!

Lucy xxx


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