Monthly Archives: August 2010

The first cut is the deepest. Bleeds. Exactly what, why and how much

Bleeds. You’ve heard tell of them but you’re not really sure what they are, when they are used and how they are used or why. Sit back, relax and Lisa will explain it all (with Pictures!). Referring to the diagram below, (figure 1) this spiffy pink flower bud “bleeds” off the paper. The over hang is the bleed. It is the printer’s margin for error. If the image went only to the edge and unless the printer trims the piece exactly there is the risk of  having the image not meet the edge of the paper, not good. (Figure 2.) For the next bit, refer back to figure 1, is the safe area. No text should ever run right up the edge of the paper, otherwise you run the risk of information being cut off. How much? Depends on the size of the overall piece, the more safe area the better. My diagram shows 1/8 inch or .125 but that is for small pieces like business cards and postcards. Whenever possible wider is better.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Yes, size does matter

The United States Government requires all government sanctioned printed material intended for those sixty–five years or older be printed in a font no smaller than 12 point. All government forms for Medicaid, Social Security and the rest has to be in 12 point type. And you ask, “Lisa, why do I care about that?” You care because that’s not a bad rule of thumb. Even if your audience is far younger using 12 point type is going to go a long way towards making sure your message comes across loud and clear. Once type begins to get smaller, it well, gets smaller. Try reading the text on the bottom of a tube of lipstick some time. Even my 17 year old niece can’t make it out. I know, everything can’t be 12 point. All I’m asking is to start with 12 point and keep readability in mind. Speaking of readability let’s talk about reversed type. Don’t. Okay fine, but only a little, no whole paragraphs or pages in reverse type, please. And please, follows these tips for reversed type.

1. No smaller that 10 point.
2. Use San Serif typefaces.
3. More space between lines (leading).

Embedding? Go on, tell me more

Embedding, not in bed, not deep in the arms of Morpheus. Embedding is a nifty little thing that Microsoft Office can do with images and what PDFs do with typefaces and images. Have you ever gotten a Word document that when you opened it up it was in courier or the tables were all jumbled? That’s because you probably didn’t have the font (typeface) that the document was created in and your computer substituted courier (). When a font or image is embedded the information that creates the visual you see or read is implanted in the document itself, lives there, rent free. PDFs do that, they embed. That’s why you want to send documents to others as a PDF. PDFs cross platforms (PC to Mac), it can be read on compatible smart phones, your desktop printer will print what you see on screen. PDFs are lovely, versatile and can be created out of almost any document and nearly every application.