Welcome to the first article in our “How to” series. The idea behind it is to offer you support in producing files for printing and also to give you a range of valuable background information. I’ll be taking a closer look at topics like image resolution, colour spaces, and typography.
Depending on the format, and the type, and number of pages of your product, there are some details that you should definitely be aware of when producing files to print; today, I’d like to start by giving you some important tips about what is called bleed.
Let’s start be clearing up the difference between the open and closed finished size. The open format is the completed product before folding. In this context, the finished size means that the product has been cropped and so no longer has any “bleed” (which is the term I will go into later in this article).
The closed finished size describes the product once it has been folded: as an example, a 6 sided A5 portrait Z-fold leaflet measures 444 x 210mm in its open finished size, which results from 3 pages of A5, each 148mm laid side to side next to one another. Once it is closed, this A5 Z-folded leaflet measures 148 x 210mm.
Bleed A5 Folded Leaflet with z-fold (exterior)
With one or two-sided products such as flyers or business cards, there is of course no difference between open and closed finished size.
The basics of bleed
In order to create some leeway for cutting tolerances in the production phase, the format ordered has to be extended by 2mm on every side, or the finished size will need to have this space added. This would mean that the A5 flyer shown above would, before cropping, measure 448 x 214mm.
It is important for the colours, background images, and the layout to be integrated into the bleeding area, meaning that all objects on the edge will be affected by the cropping. If you fail to provide bleed information, cropping can leave behind a thin line of white on the edge of the (unprinted) paper.
You should also make sure that texts, images, graphics, and logos which you do not want cropped are far away from the edges; all elements which you do not want affect should be at least 3mm from the edge which will be cut later.
Bleed A5 Flyer (front)
You will find this, as well as a variety of further information about the bleed, summarised in our Artwork Guide.