One of the most commonly printed labels is a barcoded label. It is recorded on almost all products sold at a retail level. It is not essential to have a barcode on your product but without it, most likely you will not be able to sell your products in large retail stores.
The technical name for a barcode is the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). It is simply a number represented by vertical lines of different widths to uniquely identify different products. A scanner then reads the barcodes and a computer is able to retrieve the data for that product.
The great advantage of barcodes is that it reduces the possibility of human error. It is also faster. Not all products are barcoded in your local supermarket. Fruit and vegetables are typically entered manually. You will notice the extra time it takes to process these unbarcoded items.
It is not your label printer’s responsibility to source barcodes for you. You will need to go to a barcode provider and make sure you comply with current legislation. Here is one of the leading barcode providers in Australia.
Before you begin, you will be allocated a number to go on the barcode. Firstly, you will need to contact GS1 Australia at to get your GS1 company prefix. Then you can start assigning identification numbers to your products.
Important Rules for Barcode Labels
There are three things to remember when printing barcoded labels. If you do not do these things, then it is likely that your barcode will not scan properly.
- Always make sure the background is white, the preferred background colour of your label. The vertical lines are usually black but dark blue is also acceptable.
- The size of the label must be large enough to scan. The minimum size is about 22mm x 17mm. In fact, when given your barcode, you can print your label from 80% to 200% of the actual barcode provided.
- Always choose a reputable label printer such as Renton’s Labels. Poor printing of your barcode will mean that your product will not be able to be scanned.
For more information: GS1 Australia Barcode page.