Barcode Quality Check: Tips in Designing and Printing Barcodes


  • Follow Barcode Size and Dimension Requirements
  • Use Proper Color Combination
  • Make Sure the Barcode Text is Clear
  • Leave Enough Space for Quiet Zones
  • Plan Barcode Placement Strategically
  • Decide Which Printing Process to Utilize

Various businesses, big and small, recognize the value of using barcodes in their day-to-day inventory processes. It expedites and automates laborious tasks of data entry and inventory tracking. Initially intended on keeping track of warehousing, the use of barcoding has expanded to different industries and continues to be an important tool for success.

Even though barcoding makes data collection and capture look so simple, there’s so much to know about maximizing the use of barcodes. Your label should comply with specific guides and specifications. This ensures smooth scanning and capturing of data pasted on your products. The process generally starts with careful designing and printing tags. Here’s a quick guide on the basics of designing and printing barcodes to have an idea of how meticulous the process can be:

A quick guide in barcoding - designing barcode labels and printing barcodes
A quick guide in barcoding – designing barcode labels and printing barcodes

Designing Barcodes

Step 1: Follow Barcode Size and Dimension Requirements

Larger barcodes usually scan more easily. However, the size of your barcode should match the size of the packaging and should depend on the intended scanning environment. In addition, there are the standard minimum and maximum size requirements dictated by the type of barcode you are aiming for. Maximizing the use of today’s innovative software will help you skip the meticulous sizing process and generate a predefined bar width and height requirements for you.

It is also crucial to maintain the proportion of the dimensions.  A slight change may tag the barcode as non-scannable. Be careful not to reduce the barcode height.

Step 2: Use Proper Color Combination

The most well-recognized colour formatting of barcodes is solid black bars on a white background. This format scans more reliably than any other colour combination. Scanners recognize and read the bars by using infrared light, distinguishing the contrast between the colours. Always remember that the winning combination is dark bars on a light background.

Barcode Quality Check - Designing Printing Barcodes - Barcode Color Combinations
Barcode Quality Check – Designing Printing Barcodes – Barcode Color Combinations

Step 3: Make Sure the Barcode Text is Clear

A scanner’s main function is to read the bars of the label. The barcode tag should have a human-readable interpretation or the barcode text in case the scanner fails. This part is comprised of letters and numbers that can be recognized by a human. It is usually located beneath the barcode. This series of numbers and letters can be manually entered by people into their system when the scan is not successful. The location of human-readable information is based on the type of barcode present. Make sure the design and printing of the tag show the numbers or letters clearly.

Step 4: Leave Enough Space for Quiet Zones

Quiet zones notify the scanner where the start and end of a barcode are. In one-dimensional barcodes, quiet zones are the clear areas before the initial bar and after the last bar. Quiet zones in two-dimensional barcodes are the light area of the label itself. These zones should not be reduced or else the scanner would not be able to read the barcode. Furthermore, allowing slightly more than the minimum required quiet zone is a favourable strategy to anticipate the risk of ink spread issues.

Step 5: Plan Barcode Placement Strategically

Another important part of designing a barcode label is to strategize its position on the product or its packaging. It should be placed on a clear, unobscured part of the product for convenient and promising readability. It is also helpful to position it on a specific part of the packaging consistently so the people scanning the item would not encounter difficulty finding it.

Every scanning environment has barcode placement demands that will help successfully. Printing direction and types of surfaces should also be considered. For instance, if barcodes are scanned at the retail point of sale, omnidirectional scanning should be observed. If the barcode mentioned is set to be scanned in the warehouse as well, then a symbol that indicates point-of-scale scanning printed in larger size should be supported. This will help accommodate scanning in the distribution process. You can print directly on the packaging or integrate it into the design if you like to be creative.

Printing Barcodes

When the checklist on designing a barcode is completed, the next part is label printing. This part requires as much due diligence as the designing part. The right printing material should be chosen and the printing process should be strategically selected based on your business needs.

Choose the Right Printing Material

The printing material or the substrate on which the barcode will be printed highly affects the quality of the tag. You have to avoid reflective or glossy mediums. Do not choose semi-transparent or transparent backgrounds as well. Covering the substrate with transparent wrappers may also lower the scannable quality of the label.

Decide Which Printing Process to Utilise

There are different methods of printing barcodes. It basically depends on how you want them to be incorporated into your product. The simplest way is to utilize a printer service that has pre-printed labels ready. This works if you are working with a few different products or a low volume of serialized labels. Many businesses lean toward investing in their own in-house labelling after realizing the limitations or restrictions of using pre-printed labels.

Regularly looking after the designing and printing phases of barcoding is critical. Make sure that every barcode tag has acceptable labelling and print quality. When done right, this will help expedite your business processes effectively – one data capture at a time.

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