For anybody who is designing a printed product that requires colors to extend to the edge of their documents, you need to create a "bleed margin". The reason for this is that our printers cannot print to the edge of the paper. To give the effect of printing to the edge, we will print the image on a larger sheet of paper and cut 1/8" from each side of the design.
A bleed is a practice of extending your image past the edge of the paper. For example, if your final product is 4"x4"; the document that you need to produce should be 4.25"x4.25". This 1/8th inch of extra design will allow for the cutting of the final product.
We also need to allow for variances in image placement on each sheet that we run. The machines may shift the image up to 1/16th of an inch during a run. Because of this, we need to ensure that important components such as text, logos, and images are placed 1/8" to 1/4" away from the edge of the final product.
For example, an 8 1/2" x 11" standard flyer would need to be produced using an 8 3/4" x 11 1/4" document size in your software program. You would also need to set 1/4" margins. This means that the area where you can place text, images, and logos would be 8" x 10 1/2". See this graphic for a visual representation.
In order to produce a final product that extends your design from edge to edge, we need a "bleed" of 1/8th of an inch to cut from the white paper. Sending a product with a properly formatted bleed will save the cost of set-up during the proofing process. Click here to download our business card template. This design demonstrates bleed margins. You can download other templates here.