Types of Barcode Labels

Your primary objective in using barcode labels should be ensuring they scan successfully; this should be your top priority when selecting which style of label to use.

Choose the wrong barcode label can be costly if your printer cannot print with it, which is why gaining more insight into materials, adhesives and printing requirements are necessary for effective selection.
1D Barcodes

One-dimensional barcodes (also referred to as linear barcodes) consist of vertical lines and spaces of variable width that encode information through patterns of light and dark areas that can be read with laser scanners that sweep beams of light across them.

UPC codes are perhaps the most ubiquitous 1D barcodes, easily identifiable by their black-and-white square with 12-digit numbers printed across it. Other common 1D barcode types are EAN barcodes and Code 39 barcodes. In response to consumer demands for more alphanumeric data encoding capabilities, Code 128/stacked barcodes were created – though these consume too much space when labels already feature ingredients, allergy warnings, company branding information etc.

Other 1D barcodes that use wide and narrow bars to provide high density in a small space include Interleaved 2 of 5, Monarch and Codeabar. All three use the same formula of using wide and narrow bars in combination to achieve this high character density density in relatively compact spaces.
2D Barcodes

With the decreasing costs of charge-coupled device (CCD) image scanners, 2D bar codes have become more widely used. CCD image scanners allow 2D bar codes to store significantly more information than 1-D ones; even complex data such as UDI rules for medical equipment or GS1 data can be encoded within their smaller spaces. Matrix codes featuring square modules in grid patterns, QR codes and PDF417 codes are popular two-dimensional symbologies used for 2-D bar codes.

Laser or smartphone camera reading applications use special software to decipher these codes’ built-in patterns and decode its information, making them great for tracking products, components, and industrial equipment in environments where 1-D bar codes might fade over time or become damaged over time. They may even contain encoded URLs which link directly to product support websites for more product details and support information.
EAN Barcodes

EAN barcodes printed onto products are scanned using optical sensors at retail checkouts by optical scanners, turning their pattern of lines and spaces into electrical signals that can then be compared against a database to retrieve information like price or manufacturer details for that product.

GS1 codes typically use an EAN-13 format; however, smaller packages or special applications may benefit from 2-digit or 5-digit EAN-5 codes instead. Supplementary codes like these may be found on periodicals like magazines or books to indicate current year issues as well as for weighing products like food to show suggested retail price information from manufacturers.

Once your EAN code has been approved, digital copies of its barcode graphic in JPEG, TIFF and EPS formats will be provided to you for use in product packaging design or manufacturing processes. For an additional small fee GS1 affiliated partners can print pre-printed EAN labels.
UPC Barcodes

UPC codes contain six digits that identify both the company selling a product, as well as its item number; these codes ensure that similar products from different manufacturers don’t receive identical codes and prevent old stock numbers from appearing in new inventory.

UPCs must be obtained from an industry standards organization in order to sell products both offline and online, such as GS1. Furthermore, this body establishes rules regarding their formatting and encoding.

Contrasting with Delta B, which uses bar width and space width to encode bits of information, Interleaved 2 of 5 uses bar length and direction instead – making it less susceptible to ink spread and suitable for various printing applications.
Code 128 Barcodes

Code 128 is a high-density barcode symbology that can store any ASCII character, alphabetic or numeric, more compactly than Code 39 or Interleaved 2 of 5. Additionally, this barcode offers data integrity protection via its check character.

It consists of three subsets – A, B and C – each of which have their own start character that designates which subset is being used. These subsets contain standard ASCII characters and control codes; theirthermal roll manufacturers jeddah  combinations may be switched midstream using shift or code-switch symbols.

Code 128 can often be seen on shipping labels and food industry documents as well as photo lab airbills. Furthermore, Code 128 can also be integrated into GS1-128 to convey dates such as production date, packaging date, best before date or expiration date.