Tag Archives: EAN barcodes

What is a barcode and how can you apply for them?

18 Feb

Acquiring a bar code for your merchandise can be a puzzling experience for those who haven’t done it previously. In this post we make an attempt to demystify what barcodes are, the way they work, and how an individual or company can purchase barcodes – it really isn’t as complicated as you may believe! Get in touch with the author if you have any queries.

So what is a bar code?

Simply, a barcode represents an exclusive number which can be designated to your item or product. This means the shop can charge the consumer accurately whils at the same time monitoring how much stock remains in their inventory. Barcodes are available in two standard forms – EAN (European Article Number) and UPC (or Universal Product Code). The majority of the world, including Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East as well as Asia, utilizes the EAN format although the United States and Canada utilize the UPC variety. The vast majority of modern barcode scanners however are able to read both. The safest choice is of course always to check with all your shops whether they have a personal preference.

Why are barcodes made up of black stripes?

The dark stripes which you see on so many retail goods are actually just a font which a bar code reader can capture and ‘convert’ into a binary value, and which a computer can then process. The bars appear in 4 various widths, as do the white bars in between the black stripes. The reader at the till emits a beam of light, and then quantifies how much light is reflected back again. This allows for the 1 / 0 binary code – least light, or most light reflected – to be read and processed. The number that is found beneath the bar code isn’t read in any way, and is purely there to allow for the code to be entered manually in the event the barcode label is damaged.  

I am introducing a new product – how do I know how many barcodes I’ll require?

The shops you are planning to supply your stock to need to know how many of each of your goods is available. By way of example; if you are selling a variety of fruit juices – say citrus, apple and litchi, and you are selling a 340ml can as well as a 1l box of each, you should have 6 unique barcodes. This means that if one of your products is selling better than the other types, the shop can alert you to deliver more. When you are only offering one unique object then not surprisingly you will need only one individual barcode.

Do retail barcodes work on any kind of item?

Most commonly yes. However, because of international guidelines established by libraries and book traders you will require a different format of barcode for a book, newspaper or magazine. A serial publication such as a newspaper requires an ISSN (or International Standard Serial Number) to be included as part of the bar code design, as well as a smaller add-on number which indicates the issue number. A book or novel (i.e. a once-off publication) needs an ISBN – International Standard Book Number – which forms the barcode itself. CD’s and DVD’s however can carry a conventional retail barcode as well as food products, electronic products, detergents and so forth.

Are the barcodes I buy exclusive to my item?

When you buy barcodes directly through GS1 or from a trustworthy reseller you can rest assured that the number is entirely unique. Make sure you are provided with a certificate or some other verification of validity, plus it’s usually a good idea to check that the company has testimonials available from past customers. Keep in mind however that GS1 does not update their online search engine with all the databases of barcode resellers – thus their internet site will reflect the American origin of the barcodes, nonetheless your certificate of registration makes you the complete and legal owner of the barcodes for life.

When would I need to register directly with GS1?

The whole process of signing up with GS1 can be a costly and time-consuming procedure for a new company trying to build their cash flow and get their products onto shelves. Note that there are a small number of the very large worldwide shops like Walmart who may require you to be a personal member of GSI – when you purchase by way of a reseller you are essentially a member by proxy. All barcodes in existence are originally GS1-registered, and the majority of shops throughout the world are happy to accept resold barcodes. If your company gets to be enormously successful and getting your products into large international chains becomes a reality, then becoming a member of GS1 starts to appear sensible. This means you must pay a company registration fee, and lease your barcodes on an annual basis as opposed to purchasing them in full. You will additionally need to go for training at a further cost and the process entails a lot of time and paperwork – so using a reseller until you really have to become a direct member of GS1 can make much more sense. If in any doubt naturally, always check your barcodes for approval with any retail outlets you intend to stock before you perform the complete print run of your product packaging! Take into account also that GS1 doesn’t offer to create the barcode images which you’ll make use of for your packaging, whilst many resellers include print-ready bar code images your total cost.

What details do I need to present to secure a bar code? Does my company registration need to be complete?

No. You possess the choice to register your barcode numbers under your private as well as venture name. Ordinarily all that is required if you register barcodes via a reseller is a valid contact e-mail address. Your business contact info and product information will be captured by your merchants when the barcoded goods are scanned into their particular inventory platform.

Will my barcodes eventually expire?

When you create an account using GS1, and for whatever reason aren’t able or neglect to pay up the necessary yearly renewal premiums – then you will need to pay the outstanding backlog to renew your barcode numbers. Bar codes obtained via a reseller become your legal property for good. This means the barcode number or numbers may in no instance utilized for another supplier’s object without the benefit of your prior written approval.

How can I make perfectly sure that my barcodes are going to read correctly?

There are two main guidelines. The resolution at which you print out your barcode images should be at or above 300dpi, and one ought preferably not reduce the proportions of the UPC or EAN barcode to below 80% from the original dimnsions. However the breadth of the linear barcode is more crucial in comparison to its height, so you might be able to create your company’s barcode a little ‘shorter’ than this in the event your merchandise is very small. Sizing guidelines are available online. The conventional proportions for bar code graphics is usually 37.3mm broad x 25.9mm in height. Additionally you can enlarge the barcode about 200 percent if for instance you wish to cover a bigger area of the packaging or for aesthetic reasons.

Do barcodes have to be black and white or can I use different colours?

You actually can accomplish this, so long as you remain sure you to keep a good deal of contrast between the background coloration and the bars of the barcode. Because the light produced by a barcode scanner is red, red shades are going to be scanned as white, because all the light emitted is reflected back. What this means is a blue-on-red variety scans, but a red-on-blue barcode will not. Other sorts of scannable mixtures include: blue bars on a yellow background, green on a red background and black on yellow. Yet again, be sure to test a first copy of the graphic for scannability prior to creating all your packaging or product labels. More info on specifications along with colour allowances for barcodes are available on the web.

We hope you found this post valuable! Feel free to communicate with the author in the comments if you have any additional questions.

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