Is anyone taught how to design for print these days? I only ask because a design template crossed my bows the other day: it must have originated from a designer, but a designer who obviously knew very little - if anything at all - about print. Here's a taster: body text set in 8.5pt Univers Light with -10 tracking, reversed white out of C33 M0 Y100 K16. And if you know anything about print, you'll know just how wrong that is. The odd picture caption, maybe - but not body copy on an A4 page.
And it wasn't just the type: the bleed on the outer edge was a somewhat generous 68mm. And where you might expect that the spine edge might not need a bleed at all, this one had been set up at 36.667mm.
Anyway, that's obviously the way that things are being done these days. Unfortunately.
But it did at least get me wondering. Because if you have been taught (properly) to design for print, then I would wager that you invariably set your bleeds at 3mm. And I would also guess that most printers you deal with would specify the requirement for 3mm bleeds on any artwork that you send them. There are exceptions, of course: some printers even ask for 5mm.
Why, though? Because if you visit any commercial printer (newspapers excepted) and you get to see the finishing department, then you'll probably be shown the laser-guided guillotine which can trim to the accuracy of a gnat's whisker. So why do we still work with the default bleed of 3mm? Because if a printer delivered you a job which was 3mm out of trim, you'd have every right to reject it.
Surely these days we could all manage with, say, 1.5mm? Which can make all the difference for a designer when you're dealing with a photo image with a very tight crop (yes, it does happen). And just think how much printing ink would be saved during the course of a year.
Or am I too close to the edge?