Notes on print files

Print file Bleed

Sending Us Print Files:

You can make your image with text and graphics in most programs on Mac, Linux or Windows PCs. What we like to receive are images as Print-Ready PDF’s. We will attempt to use any files you send, but find that most programs allow you to print to PDF. If you are having problems with this then please contact us as we are happy to help.

General rule of thumb for bleed area:

Make your background image (colour or Grey scale) with a minimum of 3mm over the edge where the document ends, so it extends outside the page. Then when you export or save as a PDF choose 3mm bleed settings. It is also nice to keep the content of the page 4 to 10mm from the edge as this looks better when printed. The Bleed is shown in the picture to the left and shows that this is trimmed off items. If you have ordered A4, A5 or any other size the final image will be that size.

Why is bleed so important when printing?

Bleed is printing that goes beyond the edge of where the sheet will be cut or trimmed. 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 colours often extend into the bleed area. After trimming, the bleed ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document.


Here are some printing terminology that help you are and Flyer Press understand the same terms. Below is a small list of terms you will run into when talking with your printer. Although not totally complete, the terms listed below will get you well on your way to understanding your printer and the language that they use.

GSM – GSM stands for grams per square meter. Normal printer paper is about 90gsm and good quality Business cards are 400gsm. It indicates the weight of the paper and some gloss papers are more compact so appear thinner, but are in fact a better quality due to the paper being more compact.  

Bleed – A bleed occurs when your colour or image extends off of the printed piece, typically bleeds are created when the printed piece is trimmed.

CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black are the colours used in 4 colour process printing. On the printing press they are run in a specific order. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, the most transparent of the four and containing the most varnish in the formula is yellow and is laid down last. The most opaque colour, black, is laid down first. Following this sequence allows for brighter imaging and better control of colour.

Colour Densitometer – A piece of equipment used by press personnel to determine the density of the ink colour being laid down on the printed sheet. It has a numerical digital read out and the higher the readout on the densitometer, the greater the amount of ink that is being laid down on the sheet. While there is a wide variance in the numbers used, the average range is:

Cyan and Magenta reading around 135 to 145……… Yellow around 105 and Black anywhere from 175 to 210………….. This is only a generalization and the densities that are run should be left up to the press personnel.

Color Density – The amount of ink printed on the sheet.

Impression – Each time the sheet passes through the press and is printed, it is an impression. The terminology is useful in production scheduling and estimating because it determines the quantity of the run and the efficiency and speed of the press and the operator.

Offset – The printing process that uses a blanket to receive the ink from the plate and then impresses it onto a sheet of paper as the paper passes between the blanket and a hard steel cylinder called an Impression Cylinder.

Perfect Bind – A type of binding that combines the cover and the inside pages on the spine with glue. Magazine examples that are perfect bound are Photoshop User, Mac Design, Graphic Arts Monthly and Communication Arts.

Registration – The alignment of dots in relation to each other. When the cyan, magenta, yellow and black plates are aligned and brought into focus, the printed piece is considered to be in register.

RIP – Raster Image Processing………… a computer language that arranges the dots, solids, lines and type in a particular pattern concerning densities and angles. The function of the RIP is to send instructions to the film processor, telling the processor where to place each item and what angle each item is to be placed in relation to the other items on the film or combination of films used in creating the image.

Score – A crease that is impressed into the paper. Scoring will allow for exact folding on heavier stocks and helps to eliminate the cracking of some substrates.

Separations – In four colour process printing you have a continuous tone image that is separated into four different colours, CMYK, enabling it to be printed. The process begins with scanning an image. The scanned image is then separated into the four process colours. These are processed on film flats with each flat representing a separation.

Sheet Fed Press – A printing press that prints individual sheets of paper as opposed to rolls.

Spot Colour-PMS-Pantone – Colours that are mixed in batches and are identified by a number. The number can be followed by a C (Coated) or U ( Uncoated). The formula is designed for the type of substrate it is to be printed on taking into consideration the porosity of the paper.