It is essential that 3mm bleed is added on each side of your artwork. The bleed ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document. It is very difficult to print exactly to the edge of a sheet of paper/card, so to achieve this, it is necessary to print a slightly larger area than is needed and then trim the paper/card down to the required finished size.

For example: A6 size is 105 x 148mm but with 3mm bleed added on each side, this would make the document 111mm x 154mm.

How to add bleed to files in InDesign

Go to File > New > Document
This screen shot shows where bleed can be added to your document. In the section which says ‘Bleed and Slug’, please add
3mm in the Top, Bottom, Inside and Outside box (in the ‘bleed’ boxes only).



Saving as PDF screen shot in InDesign
This screen shot shows you which boxes need to be ticked when saving your file for print. Remember to also make sure
the Adobe PDF Preset is set to ‘High Quality Print’

How to add bleed to files in Illustrator

Setting bleed in Illustrator is much easier than it is in Photoshop. Adobe Illustrator is set up in such a way that you can set your document’s bleed at the very beginning when you are creating a new file.

Remember that bleed is an area that extends beyond the actual area of your design. You need to add bleed to any design where you want colour, an image or a design to be printed all the way to the edge of the paper.

Once you have launched Adobe Illustrator, create a new file.  To do this, go to the main menu and select File -> New. A dialogue box will pop up where you can input the name for your file, its width, its height, its colour mode and even its bleed. All you need to do is set your top, bottom, left and right bleeds to where requested and voila! Remember that if you are going to be printing your artwork, make sure that your colour mode is set to ‘CMYK’ and your raster effects are set to ‘High (300ppi)’ in the advanced settings.

How to add bleed to files in Photoshop

Create a document at the desired size. For example, 8.5 x 11 inches. Draw 4 new guides by dragging 2 down from the ruler on top, and 2 across from the ruler on the left – and have them snap to the very edge of the document, all the way around. To show the ruler, press Command + R (Windows Ctrl + R).

Then go to Image -> Canvas Size, and add .25 inches to the width and height of your canvas. IMPORTANT: Make sure the anchor is set to “Centered”. In our case, the dialog box will look like this:

Then simply click “OK” and your document will be perfectly sized with the bleed added! The guides stay in the place where you drew them (marking the document’s edge), but the size of the document is now larger to account for the bleed. This is especially useful when you are placing a Photoshop file into InDesign at 100%.