April 19, 2013
Improve packaging design with custom barcodes
Whether you’re active in industry or retail, there is one thing you can’t get rid of: the barcode. Being able to identify products in a matter of seconds is essential, so we better leave some room for that dull barcode on our packaging designs.
Special barcode designsLuckily, there are other options. You can make custom barcodes that add another dimension to your packaging design rather than being a “bald spot”. We aren’t talking about some minor changes in color or a border around the black and white code, but a complete overhaul. Why go through the effort? Quick checkouts where consumers themselves scan the products are used more and more in supermarkets every day. Having a product with an amazing barcode can certainly increase the value of your packaging in those cases. The customer is pleasantly surprised while scanning the barcode and will always associate that feeling with your product. It’s a small extra, with a potentially great impact on customer loyalty and Top-of-Mind awareness. For inspiration for your very own custom barcode design you might want to take a look at the work of Irish graphic designer Steve Simpson who created some special barcodes that show just how far you can actually go.
Creating custom barcodes? Forget all you know about them!When you’re designing a unique barcode, you have a lot more options than you might think. It’s true that you need to keep a large part of the code intact, but there are a lot of opportunities to shake things up. For example the numbers below the barcode are there for verification only; they don’t have to be scanned. This means you can change the font, alignment, size, color … just about anything about them. The same can of course be said about the colors. You can use pretty much any color you want, if the contrast is clear enough. Sadly this means you’re usually still stuck with a black code, but the background can be whatever you desire, as long as it’s not too dark. The most impressive change you can make to your custom barcode is the shape. The code can be scanned as long as you have a large enough horizontal strip of uninterrupted code with some empty space to the left and right. Everything else you can play with! You can add decorations on top; you can even incorporate the code in a picture like a mascot for example.
Always test your designThe most important aspect of designing a custom barcode is testing. You can print the code and scan it with a smartphone for example. This way you can guarantee everything works perfectly before you add it to your graphic design. Ensure however, your barcode scans flawless in stores as well. So the positioning of the code in your packaging design too has to be considered. A 3D prototype will make sure the code is placed correctly and won’t be stretched or covered in a way that would make scanning difficult. Check this out on the Esko website: Esko Dynamic Barcodes – Create barcode in Adobe Illustrator Esko Studio – Packaging software for 3D packaging design