Bleed is the industry term for any color or image that goes right to the edge of the paper. What actually happens is that the picture or other graphic extends 1/8" (.125") beyond the edge of the page and that excess image or color is then cut off as a part of the bindery or finishing process.
Text or images that are not meant to be trimmed off the edge of your final printed piece must be 1/8"-1/4" (.125"-.25") from the edge of your layout (also known as Safety). Items placed 1/8" (.125") or closer are in danger of being trimmed off or showing inconsistent margins.
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