been trying to get a handle on this bleed thing.. and i kinda get it, but for the most part it talks about making sure there are no white-outs at the edges of your printed document after it's been cut out to your size specification.

Now I kinda understand this easy, but what I'm wondering is if for example i'm printing on an A4 paper from a desktop printer...and my design is A4 size as well.. I would think that there is no reason/use for bleed ,right?



4 Answers 4


A bleed is needed whenever any ink is intended to align with the edge of the printed sheet.

You can't print extactly to an edge. What a bleed does is print beyond the edge so that when the sheet is trimmed everything is lined up.

If you do not intend to trim an A4 sheet... you can not print exactly to the edge of the A4 sheet. You would require a bleed to get edges looking proper. And a bleed always means there's a trim.

  • 1
    you nail it - "a bleed always means there's a trim"
    – Vnovak
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 6:22

You are right, if you design a simple text document, there really is no need (or even use) for bleed. Bleed exists for non-white backgrounds. Because printing onto the edges of paper exactly is not possible. So when you just want to print something on A4 on your desktop printer, be it a contract or a shopping list, bleed is useless.

  • +1 Additionally, a safe margin should be added for the "gripper" on offset if printed on small press (usually on one side, have a 0.375" white area) and a minimum of 0.125" safe margin all around the document should contain no design or ink.
    – go-junta
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 0:26

In order to print right to the edge of the paper, a desktop printer has to enlarge the image slightly so it's slightly larger than the paper. The documentation and print UI usually call this "borderless" printing, and it's only on printers intended for photographic printing. Office printers, as a rule, aren't designed for it.

The reason is that no desktop machine is able to handle paper with enough precision to avoid white edges. The print head actually has to overshoot the paper slightly to ensure complete edge-to-edge coverage. That is why you must use photo paper -- ordinary paper would curl, contacting the print head and causing smearing.

This is only relevant if you have color or an image that must go all the way to one or more edges (which is what's meant by "bleed").


I am not sure that desktop printer will able to print up to edges of A4 sheet and there will be a tiny white frame around.

If you will not like to crop this frame, you, obviously, don't need to do a bleeding.

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