1 - So just what is a bar code?

In simple terms, a barcode symbolizes a unique number which can be designated to a retail product. This permits the shop to charge the buyer accurately in addition to allowing them to monitor just how much stock remains in their inventory.

Bar codes come in two standard forms - EAN (or European Article Number) and UPC (Universal Product Code). Most of the world, which includes Australasia, the Middle East as well as Asia, work with the EAN format - however the United States, Canada and some countries in Africa still use the UPC variety. The majority of modern bar code scanning devices are able to scan both. The best choice of course is always to check with your outlets to see if if they have a preference.

2 - Why are barcodes made up of black lines?

The dark stripes which you find on the packaging of countless retail items are ultimately a special font which a barcode scanning device can read and ‘convert’ into a binary value, and which a computing device can then process. These stripes come in four different sizes, as do the white bars between them. The scanner at the till produces a beam of light, and then measures the amount of light which is reflected back again. Least light reflected translates to a 1 and most light reflected becomes a 0 – allowing for the binary code embedded in the barcode to be read and processed. The number which is shown beneath the bar code isn't read in any way, and is merely there to allow for the code to be entered physically in case the barcode becomes damaged in some way.

3 - I am introducing new products - how do I know how many barcodes I am going to need to have?

The retailers you are planning to supply your stock to need to know how many of each of your items is available. As an illustration: let's say you sell a variety of juices - say orange, apple and litchi, and you are selling a 340ml can as well as a 1l box of each. This means you will require 6 unique barcodes. Consequently; if your 340ml litchi juice is selling much faster than the other types, the retail outlet can then get in touch with you to buy more. If you are only selling one unique object then not surprisingly you'll need only one barcode.

4 - Do retail barcodes work on any sort of merchandise?

Mainly yes. Because of world-wide standards established by libraries and book dealers you will require a different format of barcode for a serialized publication - such as a newspaper or magazine - as well as for a once-off publication such as a fiction or non-fiction book. A sequential publication necessitates an ISSN or International Standard Serial Number within the design of the bar code, together with a smaller add-on number indicating the issue number. A book or novel needs an ISBN - International Standard Book Number - which forms the particular barcode itself. CD’s and DVD’s on the other hand can carry a normal retail bar code along with foods, digital goods, cleaners and so forth.

6 - Are the barcodes I purchase completely unique to my merchandise?

When you have acquired barcodes via a respected reseller or directly through the global agency GS1; you'll be able to rest assured that the number is completely unique. Make sure you are furnished with a certificate or some other verification of validity, and it's also always a good idea to check that the company possesses recommendations or testimonials from previous customers. Bear in mind also that GS1 doesn't update their online search engine with the databases of barcode resellers - so their website will probably indicate a business located in the US. However, your certificate or record of registration makes you the full and legal owner of the barcodes for the duration of your product’s lifetimes.

6 - When might I need to register directly with GS1?

The process of registering with GS1 can be a costly and extended process - for a small business or entrepreneur working to establish their cash flow and get their goods onto shelves. There are a small handful of the very large international stores (for example Walmart) that might require you to be a personal member of GSI - when you purchase via a reseller you're basically a member by proxy. All barcodes in existence are originally GS1-registered, and most retailers throughout the world are very happy to accept resold barcodes. If your company becomes greatly successful and you want to get your merchandise into large global chains then becoming a member of GS1 starts to appear sensible. This means you will be required to pay a registration fee, and lease your barcodes annually as opposed to purchasing them in full. You will also have to go for training at a further expense and the procedure will involve considerable time and paperwork - so up until you really must become a member it'll make a great deal more sense to go through a reseller. If in any doubt, needless to say, always check your barcodes for approval with your intended retailers before you conduct the full print run of your product packaging! Remember in addition that GS1 doesn't offer to generate the bar code images which you'll make use of for your packaging, whilst the vast majority of resellers will include high-resolution, print-ready bar code pictures together with your purchase price.

7 - What information must I produce to secure a bar code? Does my business registration have to be concluded?

No. When you use a barcode reseller you have the option to register your bar code numbers through your private as well as venture name. Frequently all that is required is a valid contact e-mail address. Your organization’s contact info and so forth would be applied by the shops at the point where they enter your goods onto their unique software with their corresponding bar codes, along with the price the customer is to be charged, etc.

8 - Will bar codes at any time expire?

Should you register with GS1, and for whatever reason are not able to pay the applicable yearly renewal charges - then you'll have to pay the backlog in order to reinstate your own set of barcode numbers. Barcodes which have been obtained through a reseller are typically your legal property for a lifetime and these barcode numbers may in no way within the law be employed for any other object without your own categorical approval.

9 - By what means can I make certain my personal bar codes are going to scan?

In general there are two suggestions to assure your bar code images end up being scanned correctly. The image resolution in which your packagers produce your labels should rbe above 300 dpi, and then to be completely safe one ought preferably never lessen the size of the barcode to fewer than 80% from the original over-all size. Nonetheless, the width of the linear bar code is more essential in comparison to the height, so you might have the option to produce your product's barcode fairly ‘shorter’ than this; if for example your item is small or perhaps you have got only a little remaining space accessible on your packaging. You will discover sizing layouts online to guide you. The recommended sizing for bar code images is usually 37.3mm wide x 25.9mm high. It's also possible to increase the size of the barcode up to 200% should you so prefer.

10- Could my bar code possibly be reproduced in alternative colorings and not just black and white?

You actually have the opportunity to do this, so long as you remember to maintain a high degree of distinction between backdrop color selection and the stripes of the bar code. As the light given off by a barcode reader or scanner is red, and red colouring will be read as white - what this means is a blue-on-red mixture should scan, but a red-on-blue barcode won't. Alternative achievable blends can include blue on yellow, green on red and black on yellow. Yet again, check a preliminary replicate of the image with a scanning device before printing your whole run of packaging or labels! More information on proportions and colour combinations pertaining to bar codes is available over the internet.

We hope you found this post helpful! Feel free to get in touch with the article author if you've got questions in any way.