I really hope it's okay to post this. I am currently doing a pretty simple brief on collage/composition and so far it's really fun cutting up magazines and such but there is one exercise I'm a little confused about. I'm working on a double page spread (220mm x 190mm x 190mm). As it states in the brief here is what my tutor is asking of me:

The perimeter is the outer edge of a page or spread – an area often considered to be dead space. Content placed within this area can change the overall feel of a design and introduce the sensation of movement. Exercise 3 uses: two images, three areas of body copy and a line of semi-display type. You are to create a composition where at least one or more edges of one image bleeds off the page and the other image is framed, to explore the difference between an active and passive use of the perimeter.

What exactly does he mean by the dead space of the page? I feel like the answer is really simple and staring me in the face but my brain is going NOPE. Does he want me to place my image/composition on the very edge of the page? Can somebody explain in greater detail what the perimeter of the page is (or show me an example)? Out of all 8 compositions it's the only one I'm having a bit bother with.

  • 1
    Seems like you're just instructed to use bleeds.
    – Scott
    Sep 26, 2012 at 22:12
  • Heh...I feel kind of stupid now, thanks Scott :) Wasn't really all that difficult after all.
    – Lovespace
    Sep 26, 2012 at 22:15
  • 1
    Side point, but "double page spread (220mm x 190mm x 190mm)" is a bit confusing. Guessing you mean each page is 190mm x 220mm, to give a total spread of 380mm x 220mm?
    – e100
    Sep 27, 2012 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


What I read is merely... One layout must bleed. The other layout must not bleed.

  • I think you mean "image" rather than "layout"?
    – e100
    Oct 1, 2012 at 12:27
  • No, I meant layout. Other things can bleed besides images. Although the instructions state "images", I wouldn't restrict myself to only bleeding the images.
    – Scott
    Oct 1, 2012 at 12:39
  • Sure, but in the question the only other items are "body copy and a line of semi-display type".
    – e100
    Oct 1, 2012 at 13:48
  • I read those as a minimum, not maximum. As in.... "must include", and not "must ONLY include".
    – Scott
    Oct 1, 2012 at 13:57

The way I read this: perimeter ("dead space") is the margins. The instructor is clearly referring to something which will be seen in the final printed, trimmed product and so we can conclude that it does not refer to the "pasteboard."

In magazine ad parlance, the "live area" is a rectangular area inside which they recommend you confine all your important material. Usually, this is about .25 inches from the trim (actual) size of the publication. The bleed area is a margin larger than the trim size, which is there to protect you from misalignment of the cutting equipment (if you don't provide bleed, you see the paper color, rather than your art going to the edge of the trimmed page).

Your instructor is saying that you can or should find a way to include something interesting outside the "live area" and something which bleeds.

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