How to Set up Bleeds for Print in Adobe Illustrator: Step-by-Step Guide
The Design Tips Mini-Series is an 8-week installment of useful design knowledge curated directly from our team of designers at LabelValue.com.
We feature helpful hints and design software tips to help you in the process of designing great labels!
If you missed our previous posts, you can view them here:
- Week 1: How to Trace Objects with the Pen Tool
- Week 2: How to Equally Duplicate a Shape Around A Circle
- Week 3: How to Link and Embed Images
- Week 4: How to use the Align Tool in Adobe Illustrator
For Part 5 of our Design Mini-Series our focus will be on artwork bleeds. Our design department deals with artwork daily from a variety of clients. A question that is often brought up concerns what bleeds are and how to set them up correctly for print.
In this week’s tutorial we will go over what exactly is a print bleed, when to use them, and how to set up a bleed using Adobe Illustrator.
View our other artwork tips to get a more in-depth look at what we require for print-ready artwork: LabelValue.com Artwork Tips & Help.
Navigate to the tutorials below:
What is a Bleed for Printing?
A bleed is a small area around the edge of your artwork. This area extends beyond the “finished” edge of your document and is then printed. After printing occurs, the bleed is trimmed off, creating finished artwork that extends to the edge of the print or in our case, label. Bleeds eliminate the issues most printers have with printing to the edge of the paper. By designating a bleed area and printing on larger stock then trimming to size, you get a finished document with “flooded” color spanning the entire print.
For example, say you want your label to have a completely green background. By extending the green background into the bleed when the label is die cut, it cuts off the designated bleed of the artwork and the result is a label that is completely green.
Another reason we request a bleed on your submitted artwork is to account for movement on the printing press and finishing unit. Depending on the size of your label order, your print run can be thousands of feet long. To make sure every label finishes perfectly, we need a little bit of room for adjustments to keep your label centered.
By printing slightly larger than what is necessary, we avoid prints with inconsistent artwork. Here at LabelValue.com, we request a 1.6mm bleed. Adobe Illustrator makes it very simple to set up and export a print ready document with a bleed. Let’s show you how:
What is Bleed in Illustrator?
The document bleed function in Illustrator allows for you to easily set-up, adjust, and change bleed settings of your art file from within Illustrator. Your document bleed can be set-up when you create a new document, or added to an existing art file. Both of these scenarios are covered below.
How to Setup Bleed in Illustrator?
A common bleed size in the United States is 0.125”. However, it’s important to get into contact with your printer to get specific bleed requirements. You can view ours here: https://www.labelvalue.com/blog/art-guidelines.
Many printers have specific artwork requirements and it’s a good idea to go over their guidelines as this can save you a lot of back-and-forth in the print preparation stage.
Once your determined your required bleed size, you can begin to design your artwork.
What if you had previously created artwork and just realized you need to add a bleed? Start from scratch? Manually add a bleed? Not to fear! Adobe Illustrator makes it easy to add a bleed to an existing artboard.
Have any feedback, or need an answer to a design question you have? Give us a call or Email us, address the e-mail to “Graphics Team,” and we will get back to you with an answer shortly.