Building bleed into a page layout program

When creating your design in a page layout program like QuarkXpress or InDesign if you want to create a bleed, you simply set the document size to the trimmed size. Each program gives you visuals showing the page, usually in blue but you can set the color to your liking. All one needs to do is pull the picture boxes outside the borders. If you build in single pages you need to build bleed on all four sides of the page.

When building for books or brochures these are usually combined in spreads or you're doing a saddle-stitched full color booklet printing with facing pages, the area where the two pages meet is called the "gutter." You won't want to build a bleed on the gutter edge of the page, because it's not a trimmed edge of the design. Something to remember when building multiple pages spreads.

There are two ways to build spreads in a page layout program. One is reader spreads these are spreads that look just like you would see them in a book or full color brochure. This is most common for most of us. We build it like we think it. The other is to build in printer spreads these are pages built to fold or bind in an efficient way for maximum production in a commercial printing company.

The approaches are different but the result the same. Most commercial printers require at least 1/8th bleed over size. This allows for error at the printing press and cutter. When the design is sent to the commercial printer he will take the designed document and incorporate the overall size, that is the trim plus bleed and send it to a RIP or data processing computer. Once the data has been processed the commercial printer uses a pagination or page layout program to align the pages of the design for maximum paper usage.

If you have ever gone to a press check. Where you sign off or agree to the look of the design of paper, you will notice that most times there are multiple images on the paper. Next time you go, notice where the little hash marks or trim marks are situated around your design. They usually are about 1/8th outside the actual trim size. Sometimes the commercial printer will have a ruled out paper sheet, this shows the actual trim of the design in reference to the images on the paper sheet.

Another thing if you place an image in a picture box and then pull the box to the bleed area and there is no image you must go back and incorporate it into the picture itself or resize the picture to fill the bleed area. This small procedure if not done requires the commercial printer to call the designer and someone must make a decision, sometimes holding up initial production.

See also:
- Building a Bleed on Printed Pieces
- Building Bleed into a Vector Program
- Building Bleed into a Bitmap Program

Written by Odee prepress
The Odee Company