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Barcodes In Packaging Artworks

Barcodes are unique ID numbers with accompanying sequence of parallel lines of varying width, helping to identify products with which they are attached. The barcodes are scanned by optical machines like a barcode scanner or more recently a smartphone with camera having a supported barcode application. This allows for faster automatic checkout process of products to be scanned at POS (point-of-sale) in retail stores around the world. Product data is associated with each unique barcode number. Barcodes are extensively used in labelling of FMCG, CPG, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics and Medical Device products among others.

There are multiple types of Barcode which are created on top of labels. But the major two versions are Linear Barcodes and 2D Matrix Barcode.

Based on geographical locations, following are the two types of Barcodes which are widely popular:

  • US & Canada : UPC-A
  • Rest of the world: EAN-13

Following are the different formats of Barcode in use for Retail industry:

  • EAN 13 GS1 DataBar Limitedbarcode
  • EAN 8 GS1 DataBar Expanded
  • UPC-A GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked
  • UPC-E GS1 128
  • GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional GS1 U.S. Coupon Interim
  • GS1 DataBar Truncated M+S 7
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked Marks & Spencer
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional Sick
  • GS1 Datamatrix (2D)


Following are most widely used formats in Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries:

  • NDC / HRI
  • Laetus Pharma Code
  • CLF-8
  • HIBC 39
  • HIBC 128
  • Paraf Italy
  • PZN
  • PZN8

GS1 : GS1 is a non-profit international organization which primarily develops and maintains the Standards of Barcodes across multiple sectors. Companies need to first register themselves with GS1 and get a company id (Five digit number) from GS1 which will uniquely identify their barcodes. GS1 has over a million member companies across the globe.

The first two or three digits identify the country in which the manufacturer’s identification code was assigned. GS1 prefixes do not identify the country of origin for a given product. The next 5 digits identify the Company which has purchased the barcodes. For a specific product, the barcode remains constant irrespective of country. Many countries have EAN coding authorities which regulate the use of retail barcodes.

Errors in Barcodes would lead to recalls and negative brand recall, which makes Barcode Recognition very important.

ManageArtworks helps you recognise the Barcodes used in an Artwork.

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