Printing and bleeds

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by marty1990, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. marty1990 macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    A friend a asked me to do some voluntary design work for his company. I graduated with a degree in graphic design but am not really using it, so trying to get back into it.

    I'm a little hazy on printing and bleeds though.

    Usually when I'm doing a poster/flyer etc, I do it in a3/a5, add a bleed, usually 3mm, send the printers and it comes back nice.

    Am doing an a4 leaflet for the company, but they're strapped for cash so can't afford to go to a commercial printers, so doing everything with a laserjet. The original flyers they were using were made with Publisher, and when they print, it has a white border around, which is understandable, it's a laserjet. I designed a new a4 flyer in Illustrator, sent across 2 versions, one with a bleed, one without, PDF format. When he prints either it comes out with a larger white border than their original ones. When he imports my design into publisher, it prints weird, all pixelated etc. The way we got round it was to elongate the art board of the flyer design, so it's longer than a4, and only then it prints closer to the original flyer.

    Don't understand what's going on? I take it I don't need bleeds for a laserjet? And how come the publisher document is printing better than the one I did in Illustrator? I mean, I even tweaked it in InDesign and Publisher was still printing better.
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Color printers don't print edge to edge. The ones I've worked with typically have a .25" border. The only way to make a bleed work for you is to print on a larger sheet and then trim down.
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You need access to a printer that overprints on full-bleed [oversized] paper. Then as marty1990 said, the print margins are trimmed to yield full-bleed copy. For example, to produce a magazine with 8.5" x 11" pages, you need 11" x 17" [tabloid] copy folded in two. For full-bleed copy, duplex print on 13" x 18" paper and then trim each sheet to 11" x 17". Then stack, fold, and staple.

    One such printer is the Xerox Phaser 7800. There are less expensive tabloid printers from Xerox, HP, and other printer manufacturers. However, it is unlikely that you will find one for less than $2,000 US.
  4. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    You would be best to send him a PDF with the bleeds and crops. As citizenzen and MisterMe have stated your customer would then be required to print it on an oversized sheet and have it trimmed down. He would need a printer with a large enough sheet format to do it and be able to set it to print actual size.

    A lot of printers will print to Fit, Actual size or Shrink oversized pages to fit the paper size better. This is done in the settings. (Not sure if all printers have these options, as I usually work with larger format printers and they always do.) If he does not change his settings on his printer before sending to print, it will automatically reduced the size to fit the paper size in most cases. If he is trying to enlarge the PDF to print it larger than its actual size, it will become pixelated. Just a few extra tips that may help.

    Attached Files:

  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    1. Most, if not all laser printers leave a margin.
    2. It costs much more to print on low end printer than to go to a print shop. (At least they are not trying to print using inkjet printers.)
    3. Seems that they are printing from Windows machines, and they have no idea how to print the files.

    I would recommend getting it done from a proper printing shop.
  6. davedee65 macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2010
    Hi OP I would suggest supplying them a PDF. Don't supply them Illustrator files because unless they have the app themselves or are using a DDP programme other than the dreaded Puplisher then it's just going to cause issues.

    If they have access to an A3 laser then supply artwork A4 with crops and 3mm bleed and they can then print onto A3 sheets and trim down to crop marks. If printer is A4 then don't add crops or bleed because as already said you will always have a white border as laser won't print edge to edge. When I have to produce short run flyers that have to printed on a laser then I will either design something that has a white background so that you don't see the margin or if background required then try and design so that margin looks like part of the design in some way.

  7. covisio macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    What davedee65 said.

    When I design flyers for a client that wants to print them themselves (let's face it, many do in these cash-strapped times), I usually try to design them with a white border just so that they don't have to worry about what kind of device they're printing on. The attached (a jpeg conversion of the original pdf) has a 7.5 mm white border.


    When I'm doing somthing that really needs bleed for the design to work, I'll send it to a decent digital printer who'll print it out on oversized then trim. Getting 100 or so done this way needn't be expensive at all.

    The print quality problems from the PDF will be related to their printer driver and/or settings on Acrobat print dialogue, not a fault of the PDF per se.

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