Full bleed printing is printing to the edge of the paper so the final result has no margins. If a file is not prepared for full bleed or is not requested to be printed full bleed, there will be a 1/8″ white border margin on all sides. An example of a printout with no bleeds and full bleed can be shown in the example flyer below.
How much bleed for print?
The bleed is the extension of the print by 1/8″ (0.125″) on all sides of a document that won’t be in the final printed product. Therefore, if an 8.5″ x 11″ document with no margins was desired, the designed file must be 8.75″ x 11.25″.
The reason for extending the design 1/8″ on all sides for full bleed
The most common mistake when customers submit files they want printed full bleed with no margins is submitting a digital file that is designed with the same dimension as the desired printed file (e.g. submitting an 8.5″ x 11″ digital file to be printed as 8.5″ x 11″ with no margins). These customers typically ask “why do I need the extra 1/8″ added?” The reason why is twofold:
All printers have a very slight print shift when printing a file.
Therefore, the document that’s being printed needs to be printed on a larger sheet of paper so the printer can print the full dimension of the document without having to worry about very minor shifting errors. Since the printer prints on a larger sheet of paper, the paper needs to be cut to the proper dimension of the file. Without a larger sheet of paper, the resulting print edges might have white slivers, in lieu of continuous color, after cutting. This is essential for materials like artwork and posters. Therefore there needs to be 1/8″ bleeds in order to account for standard print shifts so no white slivers show after the cutting process. The dotted red lines in the full bleed 8.75″ x 11.25″example picture above are the cut mark lines.