Difference Between Slug and Bleed

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 11, 2022


Difference Between Slug and Bleed Difference Between Slug and Bleed

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The terms slug and bleed are something which is commonly used by the publishers. Though the terms may be completely alien to some, they are necessary to understand to know about the process of publishing works. The terms slug and bleed both focus on a specific spot or portion of a publication where both of them appear. The bleed or slug might be placed within those regions while the text or venture is being built or other procedures are taking place. By allowing various parameters in the program, a bleed or slug can be produced or generated. At the same time, a bleed or slug can be removed from the content of their duties are unnecessary. So, this article will be focussing on the differences between the two.

Slug vs Bleed

The key difference between slug and bleed is that they differ from each other in respect to their functions. A bleed is something which is used both intentionally and unintentionally and also consists of different objects and texts. On the other hand, a slug is a mechanism used to convey several forms of textual information to the receivers of the document. Bleed is essentially the part of the region where a tiny gap is maintained to allow for the mobility of the material. Slug, on the other hand, is located outside the printing area.

Difference Between Slug and Bleed in Tabular Form

Table: Slug vs Bleed
Parameters of comparison
A slug is a region that is both outside of the typesetting and outside the bleed area.
On the other hand, bleed  is the region of a publication that extends past the boundaries and must be clipped off.
Consists of
Slug usually consists of texts. They are mostly in text forms.
Bleed consists of both objects and texts.
Slug doesn’t have any types.
Bleed, on the other hand, consists of two types – intentional bleed and unintentional bleed.
Slug is used to imparting different types of instructions or information that are in the written format for the recipient of the document.
Bleed functions both intentionally and unintentionally. They do not necessarily follow any basic information or instructions for publication.
Clipping off
Before a publication is finalized, the slug must be removed.
Bleed must also be removed before a document can be finalized.
Decorative component
A slug cannot be used as a decorative element in the document or the published paper.
Intentional bleed can be used as a decorative element in the paper.
To provide many sorts of textual teaching.
To avoid white paper strips showing on the margins of the print.

What is Slug?

A slug is any of wide assortments of substance or other solid particle used in typography. Slugs carry printable elements, customizable tint strip relevant data, or show additional directions and justifications for other understanding of the text in current formatting applications like Photoshop And illustrator. It is essentially a component of an area specified as being outside the printing area, as well as outside the flow zone. It is limited to non-printing metadata such as text and period. This personal detail is utilized to identify a publication. As a consequence, this source of knowledge is critical for both the provider and the buyer. The text region is included to allow the content to progress by allowing the choices provided in it. 

The slug comprises important information such as headings, companies, events, directions, content annotations, edition and number identification, and so on. It is also utilized as a monitoring tool for receivers and those involved (like printers and vendors). The slug also includes details on the many stages that the content or document went through, such as modifications, cleaning, assessment, and organizing. 

The slug indicates how often the document has been changed or altered in the list. Nonetheless, it is removed before the creation of the finished product. The publisher or printer should understand how to use the slug area because it contains all of the important information. It typically contains titles, names, dates and other similar information. If a publisher does not require the slug’s functionalities, they can choose not to utilize it, since if there is no need there is not much reason to use it. One can see the slug area i.e. the printing document or outside a page’s margin on the various edges of a trim line. 

When a paper is sent to the printing press, a few technological markers are imprinted beyond the content zone, which is responsible for high publishing. One of these possible title markings is the slug area. The slug region of a specific piece of paper or written statement can also be used as a beneficiary performance metric. Finally, when the page, form, and everything have been finalized and available for publication, the slug area will or should be eliminated since it has satisfied all of its demands and criteria. Slug needs to be trimmed off before a document gets finalised. 

Uses of Slug

One can ignore the slug, most of the time. It is mostly the responsibility of the operator of the press and it remains the best not to muck it up. The slug can be used for various purposes:

  • The various fundamentals such as trimming, cropping, registration marks etc. may be inserted automatically at the output with the present output of the document.
  • In the contemporary process, some printers may prefer that one might not be adept in any of these markings to the documents at all.
  • Some parameters are seen to be saved inside the document or other format and might not be necessary to be printed as physical markings provided the output to the document files to the relevant requirement.
  • In most cases, the slug area is not necessary to be required or used at all.
  • However, there may be some instances where one needs to communicate information to the printer where the purpose of the slug comes into force.
  • The task demands content which will often surpass what is conveyed by definition in a standard document, and adding an explanation of the precise job requirements for a particular printer via the slug section may make everyone else's work easier and simpler.

What is Bleed?

"Bleed" refers to incomplete texts or other things that intentionally or unintentionally stretch over the paper border or limit. A bleed indicates a little error in any item, text, or positioning. There are several alternatives for publishing the bleed area depending on the accessible options. It is used for copying that extends further than the end of the report after the page has been trimmed. If there is any gap in the paper arrangement that touches the paper margin, the printing must utilize bleed. This is useful if any component comes into touch with the boundary and as such is removed before final production.

A bleed is any item, word, or component that is inserted in a paper or on the sheet that extends over the page count and border. So, when it comes to a certain document or layer, the writer or distributor can choose whether to maintain the bleed or remove it. Bleed is done intentionally when a portion of the content will exceed the screen. If the sheet size is incorrectly calculated, bleed might be used to compensate. When we print a pamphlet, we give the printer a large scrap of paper so that it may be trimmed and come out perfectly sized. As a result, bleed allows us to account for errors that may arise throughout the printing process such as paper variation, trimming devices not operated correctly, or if the person running the equipment commits an inaccuracy.

Bleed is imagery that extends further than the statement's minimal modification. It is used to prevent white test strips from appearing on the borders of the artwork when it is trimmed to size. As a result, it is necessary to include bleed in all papers. A bleed of 3mm is necessary for printing and publishing any document or paper. The ultimate reason we require bleed in printing is due to equipment inefficiencies. As we know that if we did not include a bleed space on the printed materials, there is a good likelihood that after they are cut down, they will have thin white lines along the borders. This is because the copier or the blade may be out of position. It merely needs to be off by a per cent for it to be seen. Hence having the bleed area prevents this from happening and ensures having a clear trimmed edge to the document or the paper printed. This concept is used across the board for publishing or printing whether it's a flier, an engagement, or a set of printed materials. Bleed is always used, irrespective of the size of the printout. 

Types of Bleed

There are 2 types of bleed in printing. They are as follows

Intentional Bleed

As the term indicates, intentional or purposeful bleeds are bleeds that are done purposefully to be utilized as an architectural element and for artistic reasons. They are generally used for giving designs to printed documents.

Unintentional Bleed

Unintentional bleed is used to test a specific project with material and to check for printing faults. The outcome of everything that has been done, such as checking and verifying for errors, is referred to as the sampling before finalizing the documentation or assignment. When a document or assignment is released or produced, the bleed is not expected. They are seen as errors that must be corrected. This form of bleed is generally eliminated by utilizing bigger document dimensions or shrinking the majority, if not all, of the image components in the document.

Some Ways to Add Bleed to the Printed Documents

There are various ways through which we can add bleed to the already printed documents or paper files. They are as follows;

  • By releasing or removing the mask which keeps the bleed hidden around the area that is needed for cutting or trimming off.
  • Another way to add bleed is by increasing the size of the artwork of the printed document. This is a very fast method and is useful when important elements are not very close to the trimming area.
  • Similarly, the artwork size can also be decreased to add bleed. This is also useful because then none of the artwork would get trimmed and just eliminating will help in leaving a white space which would help in adding bleed.
  • Adding different designs and shapes would also help to add bleed in the paper files. It can be done using simple photo editing software. Though it takes more time in editing kinds of stuff yet it helps add bleed.
  • Sometimes, stretching the objects or the elements already present in the document can also help in adding bleed. 
  • Some applications and plug-ins allow users to flip the picture at the trimming border to generate a replica for the bleed. It may be quick and simple with the correct plug-in/program tool. It will not alter or affect the picture included inside the border zone.

Differences Between Slug and Bleed In Points

  • Bleed can be intentional most of the time. On the other hand, the slug is a term that needs to be cut before the final printing version is made.
  • Slug is used to impart different types of instructions or information that are in the written format for the recipient of the document. On the other hand, bleeding functions both intentionally and unintentionally. They do not necessarily follow any basic information or instructions for publication.
  • Slug always has text details like the date and name of the document. Bleed, on the other hand, can be texted along with objects.
  • A slug is a region that is both outside of the typesetting and outside the bleed area. Whereas, bleed is the region of a publication that extends past the boundaries and must be clipped off.
  • Slug’s purpose is to give information to purchasers and vendors. On the other hand, the purpose of a bleed is to avoid white paper strips showing on the margins of the print.


Thus, from the above discussion, it is seen that both "bleed" and "slug" are terms used in publishing papers or any other type of printing content. Because they are so near in dimension, they are frequently mistaken for one another. It is determined by the people's wants and use.



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"Difference Between Slug and Bleed." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-slug-and-bleed-784>.

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