Adobe InDesign CC - Essential Training

New document in InDesign - what is bleed & slug?

Daniel Walter Scott

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In this video we're going to create our flyer document. We're going to have the page size, this little red line around the outside, which is 'Bleed', and our 'Margins' all set up, ready to go. Let's go and do that.

So, to create our document, your 'Welcome Screen' might look a little different. I've got all these documents that I've previously worked on. I'm going to go up to here, and go to 'New'. You might be on 'CC Files', or something else. I'm going to click on 'New'. If you can't see that, go up to 'File', 'New', 'Document'. We all end up in the exact same place, which is here. So, what we're going to do is-- you're probably going to be working in 'Print', we are in this case. And it gives you some presets, you can see here, 'View All Presets'. There's a bunch of stuff we can use. We'll probably never use 'Compact Disc' anymore, anyway, it's in there. 'Business Cards', some useful sizes. In terms of 'Web', and 'Mobile' sizes are done in here as well.

So if you're designing InDesign for Web, it's not primarily used for that, but you can. So we're going to use 'Print'. In our case we're going to use 'US'. We're going to do a flyer size, we're going to do 'Half Letter'. If you're following in a country that uses millimeters and the 'A' sizes, this would be an 'A5'. We're going to use half an 'A4', so we're going to do half 'US Letter'. You can see, you can override it over here. It still thinks I am in Europe, which I am. You can change it over here.

Next thing is the 'Orientation', I want to put it 'Landscape'. 'Facing Pages', we're going to turn 'off'. 'Facing Pages', we'll go into a lot more details when we start building our multiple page brochure, further on in this course but for the moment, we're just doing a 1-page thing. Turn off 'Facing Pages'. 'Primary Text Frame' as well, it's a little bit complicated and we'll do that in a later video as well. Just make sure they're 'off' at the moment. Number of 'Pages', you can add them later if you want. We're going to start with 1.

'Columns', we're now only going to have 1 column in this case. We'll look at multiple column layout when we get into some more text heavy documents later on. 'Margins', we'll leave as the default. Yours might be a little bit different, I can see here, 'Margins' and 'Bleed'. You might just twirl those down if you can't see them. And I'm going to go to this 'Bleed' down here. So I've done my 'Margins', I've left them as a default, 'Bleed'. What I'll do is, I'll get the real Dan to jump out and show you this, because its better in person. Take it away, Dan.

So, apparently I am the real Dan, and this real Dan would like to explain 'Bleed' and 'Slug'. This is my example book. Now what happens, when they're printing, we all know that-- say this image at the front here goes right to the edge, the black is right to the edge. The ad on the back is right to the edge. Pretty much all of these pages, all these ads here, go to the edge of the page, but we know that when we're printing, say at home, or at the office, we can never print right to the edge of a white bit of paper because the printer just doesn't go that close to the edge. That's the same for big, commercial offset printers as well.

So doesn't really matter, you can't print right up to the edge. So what happens is, you print on a little bit of paper that's a little bit bigger. So say, it needs to be 'Letter' or 'A4'. What they do is, they print it on a sheet called 'SI A4' which is just a little bit bigger. And then they print inside of it, and then they guillotine it off afterwards down to the original size. Now, that guillotine is never perfect. They try and align it up perfect but you need a little bit of wiggle room for the guillotine to maybe slice it little bit higher, or little bit lower, you don't want it right on the edge because they might end up with a little white strip.

What you do in InDesign is, you add a little bit of 'Bleed', 3mm for Metric, or an eighth of an inch for Imperial, or 0.125 of an inch if you're using Decimal places. What happens is, you just make your document that teeny bit bigger. All the way around. So that the guillotine has got something to cut off, and ends up in the bin. So nothing important there, because it will end up in the bin, but it gets cut down to this final size. Happens especially with magazines, magazines are printed and bound and often, they don't look this nice. This has got a really sharp, kind of crisp edge, but that never happens when it gets bound. That only happens after its been guillotined. Its quite messy.

If you've ever seen a magazine, its been printed, that hasn't been yet trimmed up actually, the pages are all kind of messed up, not lined up nicely. It's not until guillotining happens, and the 'Bleed' is cut off before they look nice and tidy. Now in terms of 'Slug', the cool thing about 'Slug' is, you just won't use it. People doing the design side often don't use 'Slug', its more the printing or production side of things. So the 'Bleed' is a slight-- remember, just a little bit around the outside. The 'Slug' is a bigger chunk, like an inch around the outside, and in that, you can write notes. So if you're the printer, and you know that this cover is a bit special, and it has something that needs to be glued to it, on a special spot, you could write "Here's where this gets glued to", or maybe, this bit gets stapled to this bit, and folded over or something special, or just anything that, maybe help the production later on.

After it comes off the printer, it says, maybe this gets put with Part A, and Part B. It's kind of a terrible explanation, but its just notes that the printer adds. It will be trimmed off, and chucked in the bin. I've never had to put 'Bleed' on in my entire career. You probably won't do either unless you're working behind the scenes in an offset printer, or a big commercial printer. You might be adding 'Slug' afterwards, and adding these notes to it. So 'Bleed', definitely, 'Slug', pretty much never. Did that help? Hope it helped. You can go back to the other Dan, the disembodied voice talking on the screen.

So we know we need a 'Bleed' of 0.125 inches, or an eighth of an inch, or if you are 'Metric', you can just type in 3mm. You can see, I can type in 3mm, I just click somewhere else and it does the conversion for me. I know its not exactly the same, but that's just the way it is. Different people use different sized 'Bleed's. And the 'Slug', we don't use you, so we're going to leave that as is. And let's click 'Create'. Stand back, we have a document. I'm going to zoom out a little bit. Zooming is 'Command -' on a Mac, or 'Control' -' if you're on a PC. What I want to do is, show you the different parts here. The edge of the big white box is the edge of our page. In our case, it's the 'US Half Letter'. We've got these two other colored boxes here. We've got the red one, and this magenta one here. The magenta is the margins, they don't do anything, they're just the visual guide to keep everything inside, and away from the edges of the page. We all know that our printers don't print right to the edge, so there's like a consistent box around the edge there. The other one we're going to look at is this red one here, and that is the 'Bleed' we discussed. So everything that goes over this edge here, prepare to get chopped off, and put in the bin.

Before we go any further let's go and save this document. So let's go up to 'File', 'Save'. Where are we going to save it? I'm going to save it on my 'Desktop', I'm going to make a new folder. If you're using a Mac, and its a new Mac, it might be looking like this. Looks a little different. Click this little arrow here. Find your 'Desktop'. On the left hand side, make a new folder. I'm going to call this one 'InDesign Class Files'. Click 'Create', and we'll stick everything we make during this long course into that folder. In terms of the naming, we're going to call this one 'Good At Heart', because that's the client. I'm going to put a hyphen in, and put in 'Flyer'. And this is going to be 'V1'. Always give it a version number because you're going to make changes, people are going to come back. V1, V2, or A, B, C is just fine. Never call it 'Final'. Final is like the kiss of death. If you call it 'Final', the universe will send you adjustments and you'll have to call it 'Final2' or 'Final Revisited'. There's some people chuckling because you probably got files just like that all over your computer. So we're going to use the 'V' system. Let's click 'Save'.

That's it for this video, my friends. Let's get on with the next one.