Vocational Vocabulary: Bleed

Vocational Vocabulary Series: Bleed cover image

The word ‘bleed’ has multiple different meanings, like what happens when your skin gets cut. But in this article we’re going to focus on 2 ways this term is used in the printing and heat transfer industry, how it affects you, and how to utilize one and avoid the other.

A ‘Bleed’ in printing?

A bleed in printing refers to a printed area beyond where the material will be trimmed or cut. This is done to avoid any unprinted material showing on the edge instead of the printed color in the design.

Because materials like heat transfer vinyl are moving back and forth while printing and cutting, the material can shift slightly which will cause the printed edge and cut edge to not match perfectly. Printing a ‘bleed’ beyond the cut edge ensures that despite any shifting of the material, the printed edges will still have ink showing (rather than the blank vinyl).

image of a logo on green shirt created without a bleed, so now the white vinyl is showing
Design without a bleed
image of a logo on green shirt with a print bleed and cut-line,to ensure the white vinyl does not show when applied
Design with a bleed and cut line

When dyes ‘Bleed’ through a transfer.

Bleeding (also referred to as Dye-Migration) is what happens when the inks or dyes from a garment seep into the transfer and discolor it. Below is an example of what it looks like when a garment’s dye bleeds through a transfer.

picture of white heat transfer vinyl on a dye sublimated jersey, with the jersey color bleeding through the white vinyl
Image Source: Siser®

For more information on Bleeding and how to prevent it, take a look at this article on Dye-Migration.

Have questions about Bleeds and Bleeding? Contact our team of specialists by email or phone:

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