So you have your 3-ring binder template and you are ready to create a masterpiece of art and branding that will make your client go crazy with happiness.
So where should you pull those bleeds out to?
What are bleeds in printing? Let us refer to Wikipedia:
Bleed is a printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed is the part on the side of a document that gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies. Artwork and background colors can extend into the bleed area. After trimming, 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. Images, background images and fills which are intended to extend to the edge of the page must be extended beyond the trim line to give a bleed.
Bleeds in the USA generally are 1/8 of an inch from where the cut is to be made. Bleeds in the UK and Europe generally are 2 to 5mm from where the cut is to be made. This can vary from one print company to another. Some printers ask for specific sizes; most of these companies place the specific demands on their website or offer templates that are already set to their required bleed settings.
Make sense? Manufacturing and printing is amazingly exact, but there are tolerances. The 1/8″ bleed allows for slight inconsistencies in printing, trimming, casing and lining your 3-ring binder to insure your art looks great.
If you are used to designing for the internet, consider this like the differences in how browsers read your code. You have to adjust for that too.
Here is what you will see. For simplicity, we are working on a 3-ring binder liner template. In example one, the art is pulled up to the cut line for the edge of the binder. If there is the tiniest variation anywhere in the process, you may get a small white strip on the right side of your liner. Blah. Click the pictures to see them larger.
If you pull your image out to the 1/8″ bleed line – all is good and your 3-ring binder liner will always look good.
Paying attention to your bleeds when working on a custom 3-ring binder or pocket folder will not only make your client happy, but also you (not rushing around to redo the art) and your manufacturer (us!).